Patterson, Marvin impressive in Kesugi Ridge victories
Scott Patterson shattered his record at the 8th Kesugi Ridge Traverse on Saturday while Christy Marvin celebrated her birthday with another victory in one of the first trail races to be held during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patterson, a 28-year-old Olympic skier from Anchorage, completed the rugged 30-mile course from Little Coal Creek to Byers Lake in Denali State Park in 4 hours, 19 minutes and 39 seconds. That knocked more than 18 minutes off the record he set on a rainy and frigid day in 2015. Race conditions were much better on Saturday — the trail was mostly dry and the weather was warm but not hot — and Patterson took full advantage. When Patterson reached the Ermine Trail Checkpoint in 1:59:37 he had just a 30-second lead on Tracen Knopp, 21, of Wasilla. However, Patterson extended his advantage from there. Knopp finished in a stellar 4:29:18, a 19-minute improvement from Knopp’s run in 2019 and now the second-fastest run in race history.
Placing third was Cody Priest of Anchorage (4:43:32), who edged Knopp for the win by 22 seconds a year earlier.
Marvin, meanwhile, turned 40 years old on Friday and proved a day later that she’s still a force in any mountain or trail race she enters. The Palmer native clocked 5:37:06, a time slower than her 2018 record (5:27:36) but still comfortably ahead of runner-up Denali Strabel (5:54:04). Mariah Graham followed in 5:56:44 for third place. Marvin finished 10th overall.
Sixty runners started the race and all but two finished.
The event’s COVID-19 mitigation plan required that face coverings be worn by participants before and after the race but not during. It also had two separate starts for the first time, with all the men beginning at 9 a.m. and all women setting off 30 minutes later. The post-race barbecue and awards ceremony were canceled.
One other major change was the cancellation of the 15-mile Kesugi Ridge Half Traverse from Little Coal Creek to Ermine Hill, though race organizers hope to bring it back in 2021.
– By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog contributor