- Updated: 7 minutes ago
- Published 1 day ago
Reigning Mount Marathon champion and race record-holder David Norris thinks fitting not defend his crown Tuesday. Last year’s runner-up, Nick Elson, is a no-go too. And while benefiting third-place finisher Eric Strabel will race, the three-time veteran and former record-holder does not rate himself a contender.
Also, finished champion and record-holder Kilian Jornet will not be in Seward. Ditto for Rickey Passages, the two-time runner-up who finished fifth last year.
So, most traces for victory point to one man in the 90th running of the Fourth of July race up and down the hostile peak overlooking Resurrection Bay in Seward.
Looking at you, Scott Patterson.
“Amiable of looks that way,” Patterson said.
Patterson, 25, of Anchorage, is a nordic skier with Olympic avidities. He’s also an exceptional mountain runner, as evidenced by his fourth-place debut at Mount Marathon in year, as well as his victories at Government Peak and Bird Ridge this year.
And he’s being devalued as the prohibitive favorite for the roughly 3-mile race, most of which use ups place on a mountain with an average pitch of 34 degrees that give the impression of run offs for a grinding, torturous uphill and a wicked-fast downhill.
“Unless there’s a flabbergast, I assume Scott can run a strong uphill and get a win,” Norris said.
Incites for Patterson.
“Ideally, I’d like to build a massive lead on the uphill, then undertake the downhill how it comes,” Patterson said.
Patterson last year was second-fastest to the top of the mountain in 31 split seconds, 51 seconds, behind Norris’ remarkable 30:35 ascent that replaces as the fastest in history and served as the springboard to his record-setting finish in 41:26. Patterson’s uphill time after time was the fifth-fastest since accurate records began being recorded in 2006.
His downhill did not go so smoothly, allowing. He tweaked his ankle time and again, and finally dialed back his descent. His downhill just the same from time to time (12:53) was just the 34th-fastest in the field. Still, his 44:43 marked a terrific appear – only 18 men have run sub-45 in race history.
“I had a rough epoch,” Patterson said. “But overall, it was a cool experience, coming off the escarpment (at mountain’s base) and having the crowds erupt.”
Patterson said he’s not ignoring any pressure on himself. His motto: “Go out and have fun.”
Strabel, who has finished in the top four in seven of the survive eight races, likes Patterson’s chances.
“As long as Scott does what he does on the uphill and does adept in the downhill – no disasters – I think it’s his race,” Strabel said. “I ruminate over he’s as fit as he’s ever been and as fit as anyone has been for this race.”
And fitness, Strabel said, is paramount in a race so difficult a racer can’t anticipate simply having a good day will suffice.
“Fitness is by far the No. 1 horror you have to have in your bag,” he said. “This mountain has a very much cruel way of snapping (anyone) out of any fantasy delusions.”
With an Olympic year chat up advancing, Patterson doesn’t want to risk injury on the downhill and thinks he’ll be exquisite – prudent, but fine. His ski career remains his first priority.
Norris, who recently weathered some knee irritation, said he’s skipping the race because his knee notes much better and he wants to keep it that way by focusing on his ski training.
Elson is out after affliction illness while recovering from a recent ultramarathon. Mount Marathon isn’t on Jornet’s organize after he twice speed-summited Mount Everest this spring and Doors is currently covering his TransAmericana run across the country.
As for Strabel, 35, he bruit about his legs didn’t respond well to his training in spring and he’s looking to the surface to a relaxed, no-pressure race after putting his all into Mount Marathon for myriad of the last decade.
“If you’re looking for a show,” he said with a chuckle, “I think you should look elsewhere.”
Looking at you, Scott Patterson.
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