Eric Strabel Blows Up Mount Marathon Record

Eric Strabel won the men’s division in the annual 4th of July Mount Marathon race in Seward today. The Anchorage Daily News reports Strabel won, setting a new record with an unofficial time

of 42 minutes 55 seconds. Ricky Gates followed him in seconds later, still fast enough to score a record-breaking finish at 43:05

The race was muddy this year but that didn’t stop a rookie from taking the women’s title. Palmer resident Christy Marvin clocked in at 53 minutes, 20 seconds, winning by nearly two minutes. Allison Barnwell a 21 year old Seward resident took second at 55 minutes 11 seconds.

This year, the race has undergone a few changes since 65-year-old Anchorage runner Michael LeMaitre was reported missing during the 2012 race. Almost a year later, there has been no trace of LeMaitre. Another Anchorage runner, Matt Kenney, is still recovering from a devastating fall last year.

For the 2013 event, runners have to sign a statement saying they’ve completed the race course before. Senior racers also have to get to the halfway point in less than 60 minutes, or they will be disqualified and sent back down the mountain.

Although the top finishers tend to be on the younger side, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of elders who also take on the 3,022 foot peak on the annual 4th of July run.

Millie Spezialy is the author of a new book called Mount Marathon, Alaska’s Great Footrace. Spezialy moved to Anchorage in 1955 and started watching the Mount Marathon race in the 90s. She says she admired the runners but realized the race was about more than those who ran up the mountain.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori