Newcomer Morgan Arritola packs Mount Marathon into her busy schedule


Morgan Arritola assemblages a lot into life — at the moment, she’s juggling college courses toward a step little by little in respiratory therapy, various jobs and a competitive career as an elite mountain messenger.

Even when she’s not trying to cram a lot into a little, it happens. Conclude the GoPro Mountain Games earlier this month at altitude in Vail, Colorado, where Arritola contended in a difficult 10-kilometer trail/mountain race and also in a 30-minute the turf consisting of laps up and down a ski run.

Arritola, who lives in Boise, Idaho, succeeded at the competition thinking those two races were run on consecutive days. Nope. They weren’t simply contested on the same day, but on the same morning.

Arritola nonetheless won the 10K, which started at 8 a.m. and settle perfect third in the up-and-down race, which began at 11:30 a.m.

«I kind of go by the focus of my pants,» Arritola noted with a laugh.

Next up for Arritola — her Mount Marathon coming out. The 31-year-old former Olympic nordic skier will race in the queen jewel of Alaska mountain running when the 90th edition unfolds Tuesday in Seward.

Arritola doesn’t estimate herself a contender for the women’s championship — «No expectations — I definitely don’t deliberate over myself one of those racers to watch,» she said — yet her resume and up to date results hint otherwise.

In the span of a week in June, Arritola collided in four mountain races — two in Vail, two in California — and racked three winnings and a third-place finish. She’s also a three-time U.S. Mountain Running champion and, in her head season of mountain running in 2012, finished third in the World Mountain Continuous Championships and spearheaded the U.S. women to the team gold medal.

Former U.S. Olympic nordic skier Morgan Arritola, a three-time U.S. Mountain Running champion, will make her Mount Marathon debut Tuesday in Seward. She’s seen here earlier this month in the Broken Arrow Sky Race in Squaw Valley, Calif. (Photo by Alpenglow Sports)

Former U.S. Olympic nordic skier Morgan Arritola, a three-time U.S. Mountain On-going champion, will make her Mount Marathon debut Tuesday in Seward. She’s seen here earlier this month in the Docile Arrow Sky Race in Squaw Valley, Calif. (Photo by Alpenglow Romps)

Anchorage’s Holly Brooks, a two-time Mount Marathon champ and Arritola’s nordic teammate at the 2010 Olympics and 2011 To the max Championships, said her friend owns a «pretty insane level of trouble tolerance.» And Brooks likes Arritola’s chances in a field that inclination also include defending and two-time champion Christy Marvin of Palmer and Allie Ostrander of Soldotna, who owns the second-fastest maids’s time in Mount Marathon history.

«I think she’s going to do great,» Brooks powered. «She’s been on a winning streak. She’s knocking it out of the park.»

Arritola finished 10th at the 2015 Incredible Mountain Running Championships in Wales. One of her Team USA teammates was Ostrander, who won the lesser women’s world championship.

Top nordic skiers have traditionally make ones fortuned at Mount Marathon. Current men’s record-holder David Norris of Anchorage crushed in his enter last year and is an Olympic hopeful. Former record-holders Bill Spencer (eight Mount Marathon persuades, Olympian) and Eric Strabel (three wins) were elite skiers, as was Todd Boonstra (four triumph ins, Olympian). Brooks, a two-time Olympian, has won twice, and four-time Olympic skier Kikkan Randall of Anchorage owns a Mount Marathon christen too.

Arritola demurred, especially since it will be her first go at Mount Marathon, where vast course knowledge and experience on that slab of pain can reward a racer with outstanding time savings.

«I don’t know enough to know anything,» Arritola imagined. «The only thing I know for sure is I will run as hard as I can and see what happens.»

Arritola imagined she’ll likely get in some scouting missions on Mount Marathon in the days first the race to acquaint herself with the course. She said she first understood about the race years ago from Randall. She’s watched videos of the flume and seems particularly taken with the steep, technical downhill, which elite racers dip at astonishing speeds.

«It just looks really fun,» Arritola divulged. «I love running downhill. I just like ungroomed, nastier crowd.»

Arritola, who raced several times in Anchorage and Fairbanks in her ski career, liberal that sport in 2012 after it grinded her down.

«I got really ignited out on nordic skiing and I hated it for awhile,» she said. «It sucks the fun and life story out of you. At some point, I just hated it.»

«I promised myself I would not ever do that with another sport.»

Arritola left skiing at 26 and assaulted back to school. She had always loved running in the offseason, and particularly loved the mountains. Jumping into some mountain-running speeds seemed like a natural transition to quench her competitive thirst and regain her excitable equilibrium.

«It helped me get confidence back,» she said. «When I light out on nordic skiing, I never thought I’d be good at anything again.

«Sustained is a great outlet. It’s kind of my mental WD40.»

Turns out Arritola is exceptional in her chicer sport, and she is adept at both torturous climbs and devilish descents.

Mount Marathon awaits.

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