On Bird Ridge, a couple of first-time winners stamp themselves Mount Marathon contenders

dwoody@adn.comJune 16, 2013 

— A couple of relative newcomers to the Alaska mountain running scene on Sunday seized their first victories in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb, and those triumphs on sun-splashed Bird Ridge vaulted them into the conversation as contenders at Mount Marathon in less than three weeks.

Wylie Mangelsdorf and Christy Marvin, both of Palmer, won the men's and women's divisions, respectively, by thrashing their previous personal bests on the ridge that sits about 25 miles south of Anchorage and, in clear conditions Sunday morning, afforded glorious views of Turnagain Arm.

Mangelsdorf, 21, broke away from 2010 race champion Eric Strabel late in the uphill-only event and clocked 39 minutes, 3.9 seconds. That not only marked the second-fastest time in the race's 25-year history but slashed an astonishing 3:14 off Mangelsdorf's debut at Bird last year, when he ran 42:17 and finished fourth.

Only Tobias Schwoerer's race-record 38:25 in 2000 surpasses Mangelsdorf's performance Sunday.

And Sunday's race was just the third mountain race in Mangelsdorf's career. That's why he was incredulous to not only win a mountain race for the first time, but also to deliver such a blistering time, beat Strabel, who ran 39:13 to chop 64 seconds off his previous best and generate the third-fastest time in race history, and top defending champion Matt Novakovich. Novakovich took third in 40:25.

"I was pretty speechless,'' Mangelsdorf said. "It really blew me away.''

Marvin, 32, racked her third straight win of the season -- she previously won races on Knoya Ridge and Government Peak -- by pulling away high on the mountain from defending and four-time race champion Holly Brooks.

Marvin's time of 47:21.3 lopped 2:36 off her third-place time from last year, when she debuted on Bird Ridge.

Like Mangelsdorf, Marvin is a neophyte -- albeit, an elite one -- in mountain running.

"They're fun,'' she said. "It's good to get off the road and see some scenery. My dad (Dan Virgin) started doing these a few years ago and got (Christy's husband) Ben and I hooked.''

Both Mangelsdorf and Marvin are set to make their debuts at Mount Marathon, the annual Fourth of July race up and down the 3,022-foot peak overlooking Seward that is considered the most prestigious mountain race in the state. For many runners, just gaining entry into Mount Marathon is as difficult as grinding up that slab of pain and hurtling down it.

Novakovich's victory on Bird Ridge last year stamped him as a serious contender at Mount Marathon, and he lived up to the hype, winning in Seward by dominating the uphill and improving his previous downhilling.

Mangelsdorf said he gained entry into the limited field in Seward this year through special invitation. Marvin qualified by virtue of previous victories in the Alaska Mountain Runners Grand Prix -- Bird Ridge is part of the Grand Prix. Mount Marathon presents a special challenge for all runners because of it's perilous downhill, which rewards course knowledge and daring.

"I'm excited to race it, but I know there's a little bit of a learning curve with that race,'' Marvin said.

Novakovich, 39, led the men's race early, and Strabel, 31, eventually took the lead, with Mangelsdorf in tow.

"My goal was to stick with Eric,'' Mangelsdorf said. "He really did help pull me up the mountain.''

On the top half of Bird Ridge, the pitch becomes less relentless, which allows the top athletes to run sections of the course. That suited Mangelsdorf, who in the fall will be a senior at Division III Southern Illinois, where he runs cross country and track, and studies graphic design.

Strabel said he probably used too much energy early in the race.

"I think I pressed a little too hard a little too early,'' he said. "I got a little too excited being in the lead.

Marvin followed a strategy similar to Mangelsdorf's -- she aimed to keep close to Brooks, the 2010 Olympic nordic skier, on the steep sections in the first half of the race.

Brooks, 31, who finished second (48:12), credited Marvin with a tremendous race. Brooks, a member of the U.S. Ski Team, was coming off a pair of ski camps, each lasting 10 days, in Bend, Ore., and Park City, Utah.

"I have my ski legs underneath me,'' she said with a laugh. "I needed my running legs underneath me.''

Jerry Ross, 37, took fourth place among men in 40:34, which knocked 39 seconds off his previous best in the race. Scott Patterson, 21, took fifth in 42:48, and former Mount Marathon champ Matias Saari, 42, collected sixth in 41:59.

Sheryl Loan, 54, continued to amaze with her third-place finish in 49:11, which cut 3:33 off her sixth-place time of a year ago. Mara Rabinowitz, 46, took fourth in 51:37. Tsaina Mahlen, 18, grabbed fifth in 53:11. And Lauren Fritz, 25, finished sixth in 54:04.

Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.

2013 Bob Spurr Memorial Hill Climb

On Bird Ridge, 3,400 feet elevation gain, 3 miles

Women

1) Christy Marvin 47:21; 2) Holly Brooks 48:12; 3) Sheryl Loan 49:11; 4) Mara Rabinowitz 51:37; 5) Tsaina Mahlen 53:11; 6) Lauren Fritz 54:04; 7) Ann Spencer 54:52; 8) Jennifer Barnard 55:44; 9) Judy Kanady 56:01; 10) Rachel Dow 56:45; 11) Denali Foldager 56:55; 12) Lydia Blanchet 57:06; 13) Rachel Estacion 57:09; 14) Leslie Robbins 57:17; 15) Mira Hopkins 58:27; 16) Wendy Sailors 58:30; 17) Christine Bennett 58:43; 18) Karen Williams 58:57; 19) Kyle Colburn 59:08; 20) Kristen Sirminski 59:24; 21) Tiffanie Novakovich 59:49; 22) Hannah Booher 1:00:39; 23) Alyson Kopsack 1:00:50; 24) Paula Westbrook 1:01:06; 25) Ellyn Brown 1:01:31; 26) Leah Legate 1:01:47; 27) Susan Forbest 1:02:19; 28) Beth Alta Fletcher 1:02:23; 29) Karen Bronga 1:02:35; 30) Tamra Kornfield 1:03:14; 31) Karen Leitz 1:03:21; 32) Kristy De Yong 1:03:28; 33) Angela Wishaar 1:04:10; 34) Kelsy Vrem 1:04:23; 35) Lauren Spinelli 1:04:51; 36) Heather Huschle 1:05:01; 37) Gyongyver Schilling 1:05:36; 38) Shani Rinner 1:05:40; 39) Bronwen Nicholls 1:05:44; 40) Tatjana Spaic 1:06:11; 41) Heidi Booher 1:06:12; 42) Morgan Flynn 1:07:22; 43) Jessica Heinrich 1:07:59; 44) Kimberly Riggs 1:08:29; 45) Jennifer Uriarte 1:09:02; 46) Heather Buchta 1:09:03; 47) Rachel Kanady 1:09:34; 48) Annie Connelly 1:09:58; 49) Renne Millard 1:10:02; 50) Nancy Osborne 1:11:09.

51) Katie Weddleton 1:12:19; 52) Gwendolynn Gabbert 1:12:46; 53) Megan Olson 1:12:57; 54) Jocelyn Kopsack 1:12:57; 55) Marlys Morton 1:13:09; 56) Cynthia Hendel 1:13:10; 57) Michelle Dickson 1:13:31; 58) Nina Anderson 1:13:33; 59) Danielle Bailey 1:13:36; 60) Linda Rao 1:14:43; 61) Amy Brumbaugh 1:16:12; 62) Pam Robinson 1:16:23; 63) Tracie Haan, 1:16:52; 64) Rima Cook 1:16:54; 65) Marianne Pedersen 1:16:54; 66) Ana Jager 1:18:02; 67) Susan Skvorc 1:19:18; 68) Kai Sims 1:19:38; 69) Kelly Paldanius 1:20:04; 70) Emily Veenstra 1:20:16; 71) Gretchen Hopkins 1:20:21; 72) Clarice Dickess 1:20:25; 73) Amara Liggett 1:20:45; 74) Kris Kile 1:21:21; 75) Taylor Way 1:21:41; 76) Caitlin Skvorc 1:23:12; 77) Reilly Hall 1:24:24; 78) Rachelle Alger 1:35:39; 79) JoAnn Kennedy 1:35:31; 80) Amber Hays 1:37:00; 81) Heather Anderson 1:37:01; 82) Naphtali Mleschnitza 1:40:27; 83) Shauna Boquist 1:41:22; 84) Callie Jones 1:41:23; 85) Jen Taylor 1:42:00; 86) Mary Hensel 1:44:57; 87) Bailey Boase 1:48:38; 88) Amy Schutte 1:50:52; 89) Michele Sims 1:56:57.

Men

1) Wylie Mangelsdorf 39:03; 2) Eric Strabel 39:13; 3) Matt Novakovich 40:25; 4) Jerry Ross 40:34; 5) Scott Patterson 41:48; 6) Matias Saari 41:59; 7) Tor Christopherson 43:23; 8) Ben Marvin 43:20; 9) Barney Griffith 43:22; 10) Lyon Kopsack 43:45; 11) Kenneth Brewer 44:51; 12) Jack Novak 45:15; 13) Daniel Serventi 46:16; 14) Tom Bronga 46:57; 15) Alan Stoll 47:07; 16) Erik Mundahl 47:10; 17) Garth Schulz 47:30; 18) Andrew Stavich 47:43; 19) Miles Knotek 48:06; 20) Noah King 48:19; 21) Roan Hall 48:33; 22) Patrick Johnson 48:43; 23) Darin Markwardt 48:44; 24) Alex Alonso 48:47; 25) Tony Slatonbarker 48:57; 26) Robert Whitney 49:02; 27) Brad Benter 49:13; 28) Todd Lowery 49:18; 29) Karl Romig 49:29; 30) David McPhetres 49:36; 31) Daniel Kane 49:38; 32) Allan Spangler 49:49; 33) Kyle Meyers 50:13; 34) Brandon Rinner 50:37; 35) Carl Smith 50:43; 36) Gillian Szweda Mittelstadt 51:06; 37) Pete McEnaney 51:17; 38) Michael Marting 51:47; 39) Forrest Mahlen 51:49; 40) Joseph Nyholm 52:42; 41) John Weddleton 52:51; 42) Luke Jager 52:59; 43) John Kogl 53:04; 44) Kirk Christopher 53:43; 45) Jason Hogge 53:50; 46) Alex Loan 54:15; 47) Dorian Gross 54:46; 48) Conor Deal 55:02; 49) Mike Brock 55:07; 50) Jonathan Kincaid 55:20.

51) Lance Kopsack 55:30; 52) Davis Dunlap 56:20; 53) Todd Fisher 56:47; 54) Keegan Crow 56:47; 55) Steve Gilles 56:48; 56) Dave Blanchet 57:13; 57) David Rebischke 57:15; 58) Michael Wheatall 57:25; 59) Bryan Anderson 57:57; 60) Ryan Sorsdahl 58:28; 61) Michael Westbrook 58:37; 62) Matthew Hernandez 58:43; 63) Lowell Fair 58:59; 64) Philip Mleschnitza 59:01; 65) Daniel Virgin 59:10; 66) Joe Pollock 59:43; 67) Bryan Templeman 1:00:15; 68) Derek Nottingham 1:00:27; 69) Cole Deal 1:01:04; 70) Walter Moore 1:01:34; 71) Westley Dahlgren 1:01:36; 72) Randy Kanady 1:01:47; 73) Rod Anderson 1:02:10; 74) Gunnar Knapp 1:02:13; 75) Eric Cummings 1:02:15; 76) John Clark 1:02:17; 77) David Kochendorfer 1:02:53; 78) Michael Koropp 1:02:55; 79) Keith Weinhold 1:03:11; 80) Mark Smith 1:03:41; 81) Aaron Christie 1:04:53; 82) Brian Abbott 1:05:10; 83) MikeBourdukofski 1:05:37; 84) Warren Libby 1:06:02; 85) Dan Herrmann 1:06:31; 86) Thomas Mussmann 1:06:46; 87) Roger Kemppel 1:07:23; 88) John Sims 1:08:18; 89) Ed Bennett 1:09:59; 90) Lon Johannes 1:10:09; 91) Jonathan Eisenmayer 1:11:24; 92) Derek Geno 1:11:28; 93) Scott Sims 1:11:51; 94) Clinton Reeves 1:11:56; 95) David Mills 1:13:27; 96) Liam Whiteman 1:15:07; 97) Michael Stangel Jr. 1:16:49; 98) Bradley Olson 1:16:55; 99) John Browne 1:17:11; 100) Andre Lapar 1:17:14.

101) Jason Moore 1:17:23; 102) Mike Squires 1:17:39; 103) Norm Johnson 1:18:25; 104) Dylan Gumminger 1:18:39; 105) Ethan Tyler 1:19:59; 106) Martin Hansen 1:20:42; 107) John Dougherty 1:21:28; 108) Landon Way 1:21:54; 109) Anthony Sheppard 1:22:56; 110) Zach Brown 1:24:12; 111) Sean Berkey 1:24:42; 112) Evan R. Steinhauser 1:29:12; 113) Mouhcine Guettabi 1:31:07; 114) Doug Kennedy 1:35:55; 115) Chuck Paldanius 1:36:53; 116) Tim Dickman 1:37:08; 117) Michael Chard 1:45:04; 118) Michael Stangel Sr. 1:52:23; 119) Tom Ziebart 1:53:12.

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