SEWARD -- Sweden's Emelie Forsberg, 28, destroyed one of Alaska's most revered sports records on Saturday in Seward, slashing nearly three minutes off Nancy Pease's 25-year-old mark by winning Mount Marathon in an astounding 47 minutes, 48 seconds.
"I'm super surprised and so, so happy," said Forsberg, 27, after breaking Pease's mark of 50:30 set in 1990. "I had a really good day."
She wasn't the only one. Second-place Allie Ostrander, 18, also broke Pease's record, crossing the finish line in 50:28 in her senior race debut.
"I kinda wish the record was mine but I have a lot more years in me," said Ostrander, the best female high school runner Alaska has ever produced. "Some people are racing at 70 so I've got, oh, 50 more shots at it."
The race was expected to be fast, with the six-time junior champion Ostrander and professional mountain runner Forsberg on a collision course ever since Forsberg announced she planned to enter the race earlier this spring. But nobody had any clue just how fast until stunned race fans saw the affable Swede's smiling face appear on Fourth Avenue with the clock ticking not seconds but minutes below Pease's record time.
"Emelie was a wild card, I didn't know exactly what to expect," said Ostrander, a Kenai Central High grad who is heading to Idaho in the fall to run collegiately at Boise State. "Well, she showed up and showed us Alaskans what a real hiker is."
Christy Marvin of Palmer was third in 52:28, Anchorage's Najeeby Quinn, 35, was fourth in 55:34, followed by 25-year-old Denali Foldager-Strabel of Anchorage in 56:17.