Like Scott Patterson, Christy Marvin grabbed an early lead and left her pursuers far behind Saturday in the Crow Pass Crossing.
And like Patterson, she annihilated a record. Just not the one she wanted.
Marvin, a 40-year-old from Palmer, was chasing Nancy Pease’s 31-year-old mark but had to settle for an age-group record. She finished the 22-mile wilderness run in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 34 seconds, missing Pease’s durable record by six minutes on a day when Patterson crushed the men’s record.
On her way to her sixth consecutive victory, Marvin faced a challenge new to her and the other women. Instead of the usual mass start, COVID-19 protocols created a wave start with three waves — one for the top men, followed 30 minutes later by the women, followed 30 minutes later by the rest of the men.
Because Marvin is faster than the majority of the men, she spent much of the race passing people, sometimes on single-track trails.
She had the seventh-fastest time of the day, and she had to pass 30 men to get it.
“One of the downsides,” she said. “They all tried to be pretty courteous, but it still breaks your rhythm, you still have to yell ‘Trail!,’ and sometimes it takes awhile before there’s a place where they can move and you have to stutter-step to get past.”
For all of that passing, Marvin seldom had anyone to run with.
All of the men she passed started 30 minutes ahead of her, so they weren’t running anywhere near her pace. The next fastest woman, Klaire Rhodes, lost sight of Marvin early and finished nearly 14 minutes behind in 3:46:15.
“I came down the pass and saw her go down the snowfield and she was long gone,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes, 23, continued a strong summer of mountain racing by taking a whopping 40 minutes off her previous-best time. In her only previous Crow Pass, in 2018, Rhodes finished in 4:25:31.
“I’m super happy to be under four hours,” she said.
Rhodes said she passed about 10 men but was hindered when she rolled her ankle 7 miles into the race. “That made me a little more conservative on the technical stuff,” she said.
Marvin said she fell three or four times, and one of the spills left a nice lump on her right knee, which was surgically repaired in 2019.
She has been gunning for Pease’s record for nearly a decade. She came close in 2014, when she finished 24 seconds shy of the mark.
She hoped to take another shot this year, but those plans took a hit when the woman she hoped to team up with for a two-woman pursuit of the record — Mount Marathon champion Hannah Lafleur — sprained an ankle prior to the days leading up to the race and had to drop out.
The year Pease set the record, she crossed the finish line alongside men’s winner Bill Spencer, a four-time champ and former record holder. Ben Marvin, Saturday’s second-place finisher, said he suggested doing the race together so he could push her, but she turned down the proposal.
“I offered to pace her through this, and she said no,” he said.
Marvin’s time Saturday is her fifth fastest, and it’s the 11th fastest by a woman since the race began in 1984. Marvin and Pease own 12 of the top 13 women’s times — Pease has seven, Marvin has five, and the other belongs to Holly Brooks, the runner-up to Marvin in 2015.
Marvin demolished the 40-49 age-ground record by about 28 minutes (the old mark was 4:00.09, set in 1999 by Pam Richter) and she tied Pease’s record for the most consecutive victories by a woman.
And, she Christied more than two dozen guys — “Christied” being a twist on “chicked,” the word often used when a woman beats a man in a race.http://www.adn.com/
Once during the Equinox marathon in Fairbanks, Ben Marvin made an attempt at conversation when his wife passed him. He still remembers what she told him:
“ ‘No time to chat; I’m on course-record pace.’ That’s all she said,” he recalled. “We’ve all been Christied before.”
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