Anchorage's Harlow Robinson wins tough trail marathon in California

Doyle Woody

Punishing trail races replete with severe elevation changes and technical footing are right in Harlow Robinson's wheelhouse, as evidenced by his six wins in the Matanuska Peak Challenge and two victories in the Crow Pass Crossing, two of the most difficult races in Alaska.

Saturday, Robinson added an Outside title to his racing resume.

Robinson, 46, of Anchorage, captured the overall title in the arduous Muir Woods Marathon in the San Francisco area.

Robinson clocked 3 hours, 46 minutes, 28.2 seconds in the 26.2-mile race that starts on Stinson Beach, climbs into mountains on trails surrounded by redwoods before plunging back to the beach and free beer at the finish. The race is advertised to feature about 4,400 feet of elevation gain and an equal amount of descent.

But Robinson said a fellow racer equipped with GPS told him his technology reported the elevation gain and descent both at about 6,400 feet.

"It was a lot of climbing, lot of climbing,'' Robinson said by cellphone. "Runable climbing, but really tough. I was thinking maybe it would take me three and a half to four hours, so I came right in there. I felt strong. It was just stunning scenery, running in the redwoods.''

The race, which also features 25-kilometer race and seven miler, included 34 marathon finishers. Robinson beat runner-up Joon Park, 55, of Sunnyvale, Calif., by 15 minutes and third-place finisher Daniel Hang, 35, of San Francisco, by 35 minutes.

" After a mile or so, I kind of knew I would be running alone,'' Robinson said. "I was literally on my own the whole day.''

Robinson, executive director of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and Healthy Futures, has been getting coaching from Jerry Ross of Anchorage and said he wanted to run a hard marathon to see how his training is progressing.

"It's definitely working,'' he said.

For his win, Robinson received a bottle of wine -- Sharksfest Bloody Red -- and a rubber chicken that traditionally goes to the men's winner.


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