Alaskans excel at Boston Marathon

April 17, 2017

The strongest field of Alaskans to ever race the Boston Marathon represented the 49th state in fine fashion on Monday.

Despite a temperature that climbed above 70, 18 Alaskans finished faster than three hours and the Alaska Endurance Project claimed a team trophy in the 121st edition of the prestigious event.

Leading the way was Anchorage dentist Chad Trammell. Barely three weeks ago in Los Angeles, he raced for 8 hours and completed more than 50 miles in a Tough Mudder event, placing second and earning $2,000. In his debut at Boston, Trammell charged through the first half in 1 hour, 13 minutes. He would finish in 2:34:09, a pace of 5:53 per mile that earned him 91st place overall.

Ryan Cox and Jacob Kirk were next. The Anchorage training partners ran in close proximity, executing nearly even pacing to finish in 2:35:40 and 2:35:49, respectively. Cox took 102nd and Kirk 105th.

Shannon Gress of Juneau was the fastest Alaskan female, placing 48th among women in 2:54:13. Laura Fox notched 3:07:28 followed by Samantha Longacre in 3:25:35.

Tom Bronga of Anchorage, 56, posted a rare negative split — a faster second half than first half — to record the state’s top age-group result. His 2:58:11 was good for 8th place in the men’s 55-59 category.

Allan Spangler (151st place) had hoped to challenge the 2:30 benchmark but was in good humor after “cratering” and finishing in 2:38:30.

“I think the course might have been rerouted around the crater I left at Mile 16. (Had) major stomach cramps from mile 16 to 22, but I slowly came back for a decent last couple of miles,” Spangler wrote on Facebook.

Anchorage’s Jerry Ross, 41, was elated upon finishing six seconds slower than Spangler in 2:38:36, good for 154th place. Ross achieved a negative split of 86 seconds even though the second half was warmer and hillier than the first.

“I got bottled up in the back because I had a softer qualifying time, but I was able to get quicker and quicker as the race went on,” Ross said in a video from the finish line that he posted to Facebook. “It feels so good to be done.”

Ross also teamed with Tom Ritchie (2:43:51) and Bronga of the Alaska Endurance Project to win the Men’s Masters Team competition by nearly five minutes over the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the event. AEP also placed fourth in the Men’s Open Team competition.

Also breaking three hours were Michael Rabe, 2:44:31; Jay Mullen, 2:45:52; Corbyn Jahn, 2:45:55; Ryan Beckett, 2:49:27; Kenneth Brewer, 2:53:04; Alec Nevalainen, 2:54:25; Christopher Clark, 2:54:52; Christopher McGraw, 2:57:59; Franklin Dekker, 2:58:14; and Cody Priest, 2:58:40. Complete results can be found at

In the finish line video, Ross and Ritchie showed off the impressive mustaches they grew for the race and looked forward to celebrating with other members of Team Alaska. The race was the culmination of a challenging winter of training after their favorite indoor venue, The Dome, closed in January when its inflatable roof collapsed.

“We have a bathtub full of beer we’re going to,” Ross said. “That’s the reward.”

– By Alaska Sports Blog contributor Matias Saari