Palmer's Christy Marvin capped a sensational summer with another sensational run Saturday.
Marvin, 33, won her sixth extreme race of the season by dominating the women's field in the 51st annual Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks, posting the eighth-fastest women's time in history.
Marvin completed the 26.2-mile marathon, run mostly on trails and featuring a demanding ascent and descent of Ester Dome, in 3 hours, 21 minutes, 34.1 seconds.
She finished eighth overall in a field topped by race rookie David McKay of Fairbanks. McKay, 26, won in 2:49:21.7, nearly seven minutes ahead of former champion Matias Saari of Anchorage (second in 2:56:13).
Race director John Estle said McKay's time is one of the fastest ever by a rookie.
Third place went to Marvin's husband Ben, another rookie, who clocked 2:58:55.9 and was the only other runner to break the three-hour barrier.
The win gives Marvin, a former high school star in Glennallen who emerged on the mountain running scene last summer, six major victories for the summer. Except for the Equinox win, all have come on mountain runs -- she won Mount Marathon in her debut in the famous Seward mountain run; she set a record in the grueling Matanuska Peak Challenge; and she collected victories in Bird Ridge, Government Peak and the Knoya Ridge Run.
She enjoyed a gap of 6:45 Saturday over runnerup Erika Burr of Fairbanks, shaved more than 11 minutes off her rookie run of last year.
"Last year I really thought it was going to be more of a trail marathon, similar to Mat Peak or Crow Pass or something of the sort," Marvin told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "When I hit the road on the way back, I had nothing left and women were all flying by me, rolling at a fast tempo at the end, and I just didn't have it in me.
"This year I tried to run it a little more conservative for the first half and keep in mind that even if I felt great, the race catches up with you. Especially some of those final hills."
Estle said Marvin's time is 30 seconds away from making the list of the race's top-five women's times. The record is 3:18:16, set by Susan Faulkner in 2002.
McKay, a recent arrival to Fairbanks from Iowa City, Iowa, triumphed in his first attempt at a marathon. He pulled away from the field on the ascent of Ester Dome.
"I was just pushing up the hill -- uphill is more of my strength than downhill -- so I figured, push it uphill and see what happens," he told the News-Miner. "I wasn't planning on getting away at all, but it ended that I just got a little lead and I built on it a little more and I was able to keep it."
He finished eight minutes off Justice's record of 2:41:30 in 1984.
"It's a cool event,'' said McKay said, "and it's an honor to be a part of it, and it's an honor to be able to win it against great competition on a cold day with snow on the ground."
In the 40-mile ultramarathon, wins went to A.J. Schirack of Fairbanks (5:12:09.8) and Shawn McTaggart of Anchorage (6:05:21).
Schirack's victory sliced 24 minutes off the previous record.
Top 10 men -- 1) David McKay 2:49:21; 2) Matias Saari 2:56:13; 3) Ben Marvin 2:58:55; 4) Stan Stensland 3:02:37; 5) Cody Priest 3:05:28; 6) Erlend Knudsen 3:15:37; 7) Roger Sayre 3:17:20; 8) Alex Morris 3:25:47; 9) Sam Herreid 3:31:48; 10) Chris Garber-Slaght 3:32:06.
Top 8 women -- 1) Christy Marvin 3:21:34; 2) Erika Burr 3:28:19; 3) Theresia Schnurr 3:32:05; 4) Dana Fjare 3:37:37; 5) Melissa Lewis 3:41:27; 6) Kiersten Lippmann 3:42:09; 7) Kinsey Apperon 3:42:25; 8) Davya Flaherty 3:45:14.