In Saturday’s arduous Government Peak Climb, Alaska mountain running ace Christy Marvin finished first among 32 women, seventh among all 102 finishers and — in the most important outcome of all — third among five Marvins.
An uphill-only race since 2007, the event expanded this year to include a race up and down the Hatcher Pass peak. Marvin, a four-time Alaska Mountain Runners Grand Prix champion from Palmer, won the inaugural women’s title in the up-and-down race — but slipped a rung on the family ladder.
Of the six people who beat her to the finish line, one was her husband, third-place Ben Marvin. Another was her 14-year-old son, fifth-place Coby Marvin.
“Doggone those stinking kids,” Marvin, 40, said with a laugh. “They get fast too quickly and too easily. I do way more training than that little punk kid.”
Lars Arneson of Anchorage was the overall winner of the six-mile race, which includes a 3,600-foot elevation gain. He finished in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 43.6 seconds, to grab a two-minute victory over Lyon Kopsack of Palmer.
In the traditional uphill-only race, victories went to 19-year-old Michael Connelly of Eagle River (50:25.6) and 41-year-old Meg Inokuma of Palmer (54:48.2).
Marvin and Inokuma ran the uphill portion of the race in similar times, although the two races were not held head-to-head. Inokuma’s summit time was 11 seconds faster than the 54:59 posted by Marvin.
Marvin, 40, posted a time of 1:21:34 to finish in the middle of the Marvin division. Ben, who is 39 “for one more week,” according to Christy, was third among all runners in 1:14:19; Coby was fifth in 1:18:24; 12-year-old Jeb was 20th in 1:40:04; and 9-year-old Isaac was 52nd in 2:05:55.
Isaac was the youngest runner in the race. “We told him he just needed to tour it with his friend,” said his mom.
Marvin and Arneson claimed victories in the Crazy Lazy mountain run back in March, and that race marked the first time Coby scored a win over his accomplished mother — he was 32 seconds faster to place one spot ahead in 12th place.
Christy, a two-time Mount Marathon champion, got even during the track season. She helped coach Coby’s Colony Middle School team and did all of the workouts with her son, leading up to a time trial on the track where she ran a 4:57 mile.
“That was faster than any of his races,” she said.
After his middle school season ended, Coby ran a time trial of his own in an effort to beat his mom’s time. He finished one second short in 4:58.
“So I had to lord that one second over him for a while,” Christy said. “This time, I started in wave 2 and he started (two minutes later) in wave 3. He had the option to bump up a wave and he said, ‘No, I want to see where mom is and I want to pass her and know I have two minutes on her.’
“We’re talking smack, but it’s all fun.”
Arneson, 31, the winner of last month’s Turnagain Arm Trail Run, crushed the 2.8-mile uphill en route to his victory. He reached the summit in 47:45, a couple of minutes before anyone else. Ben Marvin and Kopsack, 25, were next to the top, about 2:20 later.
Racers enjoyed a warm, sunny day with not much wind on the Government Peak ridge. The descent happened on Blueberry Knoll on a trail still being forged, and although it came with some hazards, Christy Marvin deemed it a good way to race down the mountain.
”A lot of people might call it a technical downhill because there’s quite a few rocks and quite a few roots, but it’s more gradual than the other side,” she said. “It’s a really nice loop, and you gotta come down anyway. We Marvins like the downhills.”
And they like them fast, and they like them competitive. Ever since the Crazy Lazy race, Marvin said, people have been asking if it’s hard to lose to one of her kids.
“Are you kidding?” she said. “He’s my kid. I love to see my kids excel and succeed in the sport.”
Government Peak Climb (top 10)
Up and down (6 miles, 3,600 vertical feet)
Women — 1) Marvin, Christy 1:21:34; 2) Severson, Shauna 1:33:16; 3) McAnly, April 1:33:55; 4) Anglen, Lisa 1:39:13,; 5) Loran, Alyse 1:44:36; 6) Inscho, Krista 1:44:57; 7) Loan, Kinsey 1:48:26; 8) Lewis, April 1:49:33; 9) Davila, Brenda 1:50:32; 10) Kopsack, Jocelyn 1:52:01.
Men — 1) Arneson, Lars 1:09:43; 2) Kopsack, Lyon 1:11:53; 3) Marvin, Benjamin 1:14:19; 4) Kirk, Christopher 1:16:18; 5) Marvin, Coby 1:18:24; 6) Genn, Marshall 1:20:46; 7) Ward, Ben 1:21:48; 8) Saari, Matias 1:24:26; 9) Adams, Sam 1:25:13; 10) Turney, Taylor 1:25:39.
Uphill only (2.8 miles, 3,600 vertical feet)
Women — 1) Inokuma, Meg 54:51; 2) Quinn, Najeeby 56:53; 3) Dugan, Darcy 1:02:32; 4) Jeschke, Yvonne 1:04:58; 5) Curley, Colleen 1:06:25; 6) Halvorsen, Hannah 1:09:25; 7) Storlie, Kristina 1:12:51; 8) de Schweinitz, Amy 1:13:25; 9) Barnel, Aurelie 1:17:38; 10) Legate, Leah 1:17:55.
Men — 1) Connelly, Michael 50:26; 2) Gross, Roman 53:51; 3) Griffith, Barney 54:31; 4) Taylor, Josh 55:17; 5) Ritchie, Tom 55:50; 6) Spencer, David 55:50; 7) Mahlen, Forrest 56:08; 8) Flanders, Eric 56:20; 9) Stavich, Andrew ; 10) Sanfacon, Keith 56:47.