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Novakovich answers his own challenge, claims victory

Doyle Woody
A racer prepares to slide in the snow. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Aaron Henle of Anchorage (red paint) is among a line of runners climbing near the base of Mount Marathon. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Leslie Rawson descends the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Ronald Quinton, left, and Kris Burnett celebrate at the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Suzanne Knudsen and Jasmine Hatton descend the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Leslie Varys reaches the high point of the race course. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A line of runners climbs near the base of Mount Marathon. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Whitney Martin descends the race course. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Michael Wheatall exchanges high-fives with race fans. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A racer tries to control her speed on the snow. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A junior racer bounds down the scree through the fog. Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers slide in snow near the race peak. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
About 350 women raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
The first wave of racers in the men's race starts up the mountain. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Katharine Tongue of Kasilof (139) tries to avoid a collision with another racer. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Brad Benter, right, sprints to the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Abby Jahn heads down the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Edward Hartman crosses the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Matt Novakovich closes in on the finish line to win the 2012 men's race. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers slide in the snow near the peak of the Mount Marathon race. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Jens Beck sprints into the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A junior racer works his way through the trees.Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mounta Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Kate Backstrum of Anchorage prepares to round the rock at the top of Mount Marathon. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Benjamin Russell rests after finishing the race. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Arianne Parisi reaches the race turnaround. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers slide in the snow near the peak of the Mount Marathon race. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Tor Christopherson gets splashed by Matias Saari at the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Keegan Crowe works his way through the trees. Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Lauren Fritz reaches the peak on her way to second place finish. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Ronald Quinton, left, and Kris Burnett celebrate at the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Suzanne Knudsen and Jasmine Hatton descend the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A racer prepares to slide in the snow. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Medics tend to veteran racer Matthew Kenney near the chute on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Kenney was seriously injured in a fall from the cliff at the mountain's base.
RON LEVY / ronlevyphoto.com
A junior racer bounds down the scree. Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Holly Brooks rounds the rock at the top of the race course and starts back down the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Michael Wheatall exchanges high-fives with race fans. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A racer tries to control her speed on the snow. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Leslie Varys reaches the high point of the race course. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Mount Marathon winner Matt Novakovich hugs his kids, Josh, 11, and Liz, 9. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Sarah Bosch gets a high-five. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Holly Brooks reaches the high point on the Mount Marathon race course. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Brad Benter, right, sprints to the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A junior racer bounds down the scree through the fog. Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers slide in snow near the race peak. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Matt Novakovich celebrates at the finish line after winning the 2012 Mount Marathon men's race. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Natasha Liebig runs over a snow formation. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Jens Beck sprints into the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Abby Jahn heads down the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A spectator looks at the men's race high on Mount Marathon, the peak of which is reflected in a windows in downtown Seward. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A racer tries to keep from slipping in the mud by holding a tree. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Tor Christopherson gets splashed by Matias Saari at the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A junior racer works his way through the trees.Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mounta Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Kate Backstrum of Anchorage prepares to round the rock at the top of Mount Marathon. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Spectators get a look at the men's race from the street level in Seward. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Dawn Dinwoodie negotiates a waterfall. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Medics tend to veteran racer Matthew Kenney near the chute on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. Kenney was seriously injured in a fall from the cliff at the mountain's base.
RON LEVY / ronlevyphoto.com
Keegan Crowe works his way through the trees. Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Lauren Fritz reaches the peak on her way to second place finish. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers climb a steep portion of the course near the base of Mount Marathon. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Leslie Rawson descends the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Mount Marathon winner Matt Novakovich hugs his kids, Josh, 11, and Liz, 9. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A junior racer bounds down the scree. Junior racers ages 17 and under raced halfway to Mount Marathon's 3,022-foot peak in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Holly Brooks rounds the rock at the top of the race course and starts back down the mountain. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Aaron Henle of Anchorage (red paint) is among a line of runners climbing near the base of Mount Marathon. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Whitney Martin descends the race course. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Matt Novakovich celebrates at the finish line after winning the 2012 Mount Marathon men's race. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Sarah Bosch gets a high-five. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Holly Brooks reaches the high point on the Mount Marathon race course. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A line of runners climbs near the base of Mount Marathon. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Katharine Tongue of Kasilof (139) tries to avoid a collision with another racer. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A spectator looks at the men's race high on Mount Marathon, the peak of which is reflected in a windows in downtown Seward. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Natasha Liebig runs over a snow formation. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
About 350 women raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
The first wave of racers in the men's race starts up the mountain. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers slide in the snow near the peak of the Mount Marathon race. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Spectators get a look at the men's race from the street level in Seward. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A racer tries to keep from slipping in the mud by holding a tree. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Edward Hartman crosses the finish line. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Matt Novakovich closes in on the finish line to win the 2012 men's race. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers slide in the snow near the peak of the Mount Marathon race. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Racers climb a steep portion of the course near the base of Mount Marathon. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Dawn Dinwoodie negotiates a waterfall. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Benjamin Russell rests after finishing the race. About 350 men raced to the 3,022-foot peak of Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Arianne Parisi reaches the race turnaround. About 350 participants in the Mount Marathon women's event raced to the 3,022-foot high point and back down to the streets of Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

SEWARD - In the weeks leading up to Wednesday's men's Mount Marathon race, Matt Novakovich did not lurk off the radar, or poor-mouth his championship chances, or even remotely downplay his expectations.

Instead, he called himself out.

And then he answered his own challenge with the fourth-fastest time in a celebrated race that draws thousands of spectators to the shores of Resurrection Bay.

Novakovich, who so badly wanted to win the 85th edition of the race up and down the 3,022-foot slab of misery and publicly stated his goal when asked, captured the coveted title when he blitzed the course of three-plus miles in 44 minutes, 7 seconds.

That delivered a personal record (PR) by a head-shaking 2:37 and a time that has only been surpassed by race record-holder and eight-time champion Bill Spencer (43:21 in 1981); 2004 champion Toby Schwoerer (43:39); and two-time champion and Wednesday runner-up Trond Flagstad (44:03 in 2008).

For a 38-year-old from Anchorage who was a track runner at Brigham Young University and then an elite cyclist before turning to mountain-running, his victory was a testament to single-minded focus and punishing training.

"My college coach used to say after a big race, 'Gentleman, I'm pleased but not satisfied,' " Novakovich said. "Not to sound cliched or over the top, but I'm finally satisfied.''

After finishing 10th in both 2009 and 2010, and fifth last year, Novakovich redoubled his efforts. He charged into race-specific training, much of it conducted on a treadmill he owns that can furnish an incline as severe as 40 degrees - that's dead-on because Mount Marathon averages a 38-degree pitch.

Yet there is no avoiding the toll the race takes on even the masters of the mountain. The uphill makes legs scream and lungs nearly bust. After that brutal effort, the wicked downhill leaves legs rubbery and makes the final run on the descending road into the downtown finish an ordeal.

In Novakovich's dream scenario, coming down Fourth Avenue in the lead would feel fantastic. Turns out reality bites.

"I dreamt about it so much in practice; it was exhilarating,'' Novakovich said. "(Today) I just had tunnel vision. It was pure pain.

"Coming down that final stretch, people said, 'You got it,' and I thought, 'I don't have anything.' ''

He had plenty enough, though, to hold off Flagstad, who lowered his 40-49 age-group record, and a slew of contenders, many of whom generated PRs.

Flagstad, 42, of Anchorage, who won in 2008 and 2010, finished second in 44:26 to knock 14 seconds off his age-group record. Matias Saari, 41, of Anchorage, the 2009 champ, took third in 45:13, an improvement of 51 seconds over his previous best.

Fourth-place finisher Ben Ward, 37, of Anchorage, clocked 45:56 to top his previous PR by 33 seconds. And fifth-place finisher Tor Christopherson, 30, of Anchorage, threw down a 46:11 that shredded his PR by 3:00.

Defending champion Eric Strabel, 30, of Anchorage, finished eighth in 46:52. Unofficially, he again turned in the fastest downhill time, racing from the summit to the finish line in just 10:08.

And ageless Barney Griffith - OK, he's 54 - finished 10th in 48:09, which trimmed 14 seconds off the 50-59 age-group record he set as a 50-year-old in 2008.

Those dynamic performances came on an afternoon that greeted the men with light rain on an already slick dirt trail on the lower half of the mountain. By accounts of racers, though, the downhill trail - it veers away from that slippery lower trail - proved blistering fast.

All the contenders predicted Novakovich's superior uphill strength - he won the uphill-only races on Government Peak and Bird Ridge in preparation for Mount Marathon - would be too much for them Wednesday. Indeed, Novakovich's unofficial time of 32:54 to the rock runners circle at the summit before descending put him about a minute ahead of Flagstad, who felt as spunky as he did in his last victory.

"Going up, I thought, 'Huh, this feels like 2010,' '' Flagstad said.

Saari, meanwhile, was about 90 seconds or more behind Novakovich at the summit but thought that might be a small enough gap to close.

"It looked manageable,'' Saari said. "At the top, it seemed like we had a chance. Matt, obviously, improved on the downhill.''

Novakovich's downhill until Wednesday was his weakness. But he worked deliberately at becoming faster, and more fearless, on the descent. His unofficial downhill time of 11:12 on Wednesday, despite momentary cramps in his calves, was an improvement of 1:38 over his downhill time last year.

Flagstad (10:33) and Saari (10:45) managed the downhill significantly faster, but Novakovich on the uphill had built an insurmountable lead.

That proved a fabulous finish for him, and for his family. Novakovich;s victory came after his wife, Tiffanie, finished 15th in the women's race; their 9-year-old daughter Liz finished 25th in the junior girls race halfway up the mountain and back; and their 11-year-old son Josh finished 32nd in the boys race.

As for dad, he cashed in on what he called his "in-my-face'' challenge, which he said holds him accountable for both training and performance.

And that left Novakovich both pleased and satisfied.

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

Women's race: Brooks wins after 3 runner-up finishes
Junior champs defend their crowns
Photos: 2012 Mount Marathon
Map: Negotiating Mount Marathon
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News