The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Patterson, Ostrander claim 1st MMR wins

 

Tommy Wells

Scott Patterson takes time to enjoy his victory-and play with the crowd-by "airplaning" his way to the finish line during the 2017 Mount Marathon Race. Patterson claimed his first MMR men's title by legging out a time of 44 minutes and 30 seconds.

Scott Patterson and Allie Ostrander stepped onto Fourth Avenue on Tuesday morning with everyone expecting them to turn in a few fireworks in the 90th running of the Mount Marathon Race.

And they did.

Both Patterson and Ostrander blazed their way to easy victories in the 2017 race. Backed by a dominating run up the mountain, Patterson was able to relax a bit over the final half of the course en route to winning his first-ever Mount Marathon Race.

Just how convincing was Patterson's win? He edged out Seward's Erik Johnson by almost a minute. Most of that lead came during a blistering first half of the race. He covered the uphill portion of the trail in a way that saw him build more than a 2-minute lead.

"Uphill is definitely my strength," he said. "I wanted to attack the course going up to try and build a big lead and then go from there."

The huge lead enabled the nordic skier to take a less aggressive approach to the descent. He turned in a time of 12 minutes and 46 seconds over the final half of the race.

"I knew I had a big lead so I was able to kind of cruise (downhill)," he said.

To put Patterson's uphill domination in better perspective, his downhill mark wasn't among the 25 fastest times in the race's history.

At the bottom, Patterson said he enjoyed the easy win, even playing to the crowd at the end as he spread his arms wide and airplaned into the finish line.

"This is a great race," he said. "There are other races in which I think I have raced better, but this one is special. This crowd is so amazing."

Johnson, who finished in the top 20 a year ago, turned in a solid effort, taking second overall with a time of 45:22.

Chugiak's Kenneth Brewer finished third in the men's race, more than a minute behind Johnson. He finished at 46:53. Fairbanks' Alexander Eckert was fourth, while Eldorado Springs, Colorado, runner Matthias Messner rounded out the top five.

A six-time Junior champion, Ostrander did exactly the same thing in the women's race. Despite a couple of falls on a muddy trail, she edged out Olympic cross-country skier Morgan Arritola and two-time champion Christy Marvin for the title.

"It was obviously a big race for me," she said. "I have a lot of history with this race and my family does it. I was happy to be able to get a win."

Ostrander finished the race with a final time of 49:19-the second-fastest mark in the race's history. Emilie Forsberg set the women's race record in 2015 with a mark of 47:48.

Like Patterson, Ostrander took control of the women's race from the start. She held off a strong challenge from Arritola on the uphill segment of the race.

Despite slipping four times on her ascent up the 3,000-foot mountain, Ostrander left little doubt as to the champion once she reached the summit.

"My legs were so dead (at the top)," she said. "But I told myself that I had to keep going, keep going. It's Mount Marathon so it's supposed to be hard."

The 20-year-old NCAA steeplechase champion put the finishing touches on her win with a sprint down Fourth Ave.

"I just kept pushing the whole way, even down the straightaway," she said.

Denali Foldager-Strabel highlighted another strong outing by Seward runners. As a group, Seward had five runners place in the top 15 in the women's standings.

Tommy Wells

Allie Ostrander strides across the finish line to win the women's division of the 2017 Mount Marathon Race.

A perennial top 10 finisher, Foldager-Strabel finished fourth this year despite only practicing about a month due to an injury. She finished at 55:05, just behind Marvin, who took third at 52:22.

"It was a suffer-fest like it usually is," she said, noting she had planned to play it safe early on. "Today was all about I'm not going to do anything, but when I found myself still being able to see Allie's cute little butt right up there I was like, 'Wait a minute! Am I climbing?'"

The 27-year-old veteran said she was very pleased with her top 5 finish.

"With what I was able to do over the last four weeks, that was all I could do."

Hannah Lafluer and Allison Barnwell also posted outstanding runs. Lafluer finished seventh overall with a time of 56:41. Barnwell was eighth at 57:22.

Sarah Glaser and Mackenzie Barnwell added to Seward's accolades by finishing 12th and 15th, respectively.

 

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