By race's end, Anna Dalton felt more numbed than when she's run in zero-degree weather in Anchorage, and Jeff Young shivered more than when he stood atop Mount McKinley.
Yet, even in far-from-ideal conditions at Monday's rain-drenched, wind-lashed Boston Marathon -- runners recounted bodies chilled to the core and teeth chattering -- Young and Dalton were among several Alaska racers who delivered sizzling performances.
Young won the men's 55-59 age-group in America's most storied marathon in just his second 26.2-miler. Dalton finished 46th overall among women. Ryan Beckett topped all Alaskans, and nine Alaskans – eight men and Dalton – covered the point-to-point course in less than three hours.
Young, Dalton and Beckett, who all belong to the same Anchorage training group, furnished personal-record performances in a race that began with temperatures in the low 40s and challenged runners' will as much as their fitness.
"It was a hard day, and it got harder as it went on,'' said marathoner Jerry Ross, who coaches Young, Dalton and Beckett, and also raced Monday.
"The elites were a few minutes slower than usual, so for a lot of top Alaskans to have PRs is crazy -- really cool.
"It was a real character test, and a lot of Alaskans passed the test.''
Young, 56, didn't just win his age division in the 119th running of the country's oldest marathon, he dominated it. The construction worker's PR of 2 hours, 46 minutes, 23 seconds marked an improvement of 1:44 over his marathon debut last summer. He not only won his age-group by a whopping 3:42, but ran so fast only four men in the 50-54 age-group topped his time. He finished 598th overall after hoping to finish among the top 800 in a field of about 30,000.
"I'm stoked,'' Young said by cellphone. "I'm so excited. I'm even more excited to be in the top 600.''
Young, who rated his age-group victory and PR as a "10,'' said conditions proved difficult.
"Your shoes are wet, your shirt's wet, your shorts are wet,'' he said. "It just saps your energy.''
Still, Young prevailed by tempering his eagerness in the early, downhill miles, which allowed him to preserve fuel for the Newton Hills from miles 16 to 21, and by running a nearly metronomic race. Young covered the opening 13.1 miles in 1:22:48 and the closing 13.1 in 1:23:48.
"He crushed it,'' Ross said. "And it's only his second marathon. That's what's mind-boggling.''
Young suspected he might have won his age group but wasn't sure until he checked his cellphone at race's end. Friends who tracked his race online had texted him congratulations.
Forty-two Alaskans – 26 men and 16 women – finished the race.
Dalton generated a PR of 2:51:27, which slashed 5:04 off her previous best. She hoped to flirt with 2:50, but was psyched by her PR in miserable conditions.
"I was more happy to see I got 46th,'' Dalton said. "I figured on a great day I could be top-60 or top-70. This is a really competitive marathon, so when I saw I was 46th, I thought, 'Whoa.' "
Dalton said crowds lining the course from the start in Hopkinton to the finish downtown on Boylston Street buoyed her while runners were buffeted by headwinds and crosswinds.
"When you start to feel crappy and the conditions are getting to you, you have that crowd screaming,'' Dalton said.
Like Dalton, Beckett blistered a PR, clocking 2:43:43 in his fifth career marathon to lop 5:36 off his previous best and finish 428th overall.
A year ago, when Beckett ran 2:53:28 at Boston, he slowed considerably in the late miles and ran the second half of the race more than 12 minutes slower than the first half. Monday, Beckett ran the second half of the race just 2:37 slower than the first half and said he continually passed runners.
"It was just great to be moving up on the field instead of falling back,'' Beckett said. "This feels great to execute a race.''
Aaron Routon, 37, of Sitka, finished second among Alaskans in 2:45:46. Like Young, he finished inside the top 600, taking 552nd overall.
Jim McDonough, 44, of Anchorage, clocked 2:51:10 in his Boston debut, finished 100th in the 40-44 age group and slashed 3:30 off his PR. He was the fourth-fastest Alaskan, behind Beckett, Routon and Young.
McDonough said Ross, his coach, helped him out about 10 miles into the race by shielding him from the wind for a couple of miles and getting him back on his planned pace.
Ross, 39, who raced primarily to qualify for Boston next year, clocked 3:01:58, which qualified him for 2016. In 2011, Ross blitzed a 2:24:32 to finish 40th overall at Boston. At various times Monday, he ran with Beckett, Young, McDonough and Dalton, monitoring their progress and lending advice and encouragement.
"It was a shepherd that was tending to his flock,'' McDonough said. "It was really cool.''
McDonough said he viewed the performance of Young, a dozen years his senior, as motivation to keep improving.
"I just use him as an example of what's possible,'' McDonough said.
Sara Sayre, 25, of Girdwood, finished second among Alaska women in 3:12:08. Kiersten Lippman, 35, of Anchorage, and a three-timer winner of the Crow Pass Crossing backcountry marathon, was the third-fastest Alaska woman in 3:12:59.
119th Boston Marathon
Ryan Beckett, 29, Anchorage, 2:43:43; Aaron Routon, 37, Sitka, 2:45:46; Jeff Young, 56, Anchorage, 2:46:23 (1st overall, 55-59 age-group); James McDonough, 44, Anchorage, 2:51:10; John Naylor, 38, Wasilla, 2:53:25; Daniel Myers, 45, Anchorage, 2:56:45; Dugan Greenwell, 37, Anchorage, 2:57:01; James Miller, 34, Anchorage, 2:59:48.
Jerry Ross, 39, Anchorage, 3:01:58; David Johnston, 45, Willow, 3:09:53; Andy Holland, 58, Fairbanks, 3:20:06; Stephen Peterson, 50, Anchorage, 3:25:58; Anthony Arturo, 45, Anchorage, 3:27:38; John McCall, 51, Chugiak, 3:27:44; Kevin Knotek, 56, Moose Pass, 3:28:14; John Davis Jr., 49, Sitka, 3:30:35; Mansour Alzaharna, 54, Douglas, 3:34:53; Dan Bishop, 53, Fairbanks, 3:36:32; Robert Morehead, 49, Anchorage, 3:37:59; Don Kiely, 57, Fairbanks, 3:38:17; Jeffrey Olsen, 55, Anchorage, 3:44:25; Tim Schwanke, 60, Anchorage, 3:51:03; William Gard, 56, Fairbanks, 3:52:00.
Lawrence Hill, 66, Fairbanks, 4:07:46; Brad Cunningham, 48, Sitka, 4:07:48; Toby Widdicombe, 60, Anchorage, 4:20:36.
Anna Dalton, 25, Anchorage, 2:51:27 (46th overall among women).
Sara Sayre, 25, Girdwood, 3:12:08; Kiersten Lippmann, 35, Anchorage, 3:12:59; Laura Fox, 34, Anchorage, 3:23:38; Madigan Stanley, 23, Anchorage, 3:35:37; Michelle Richards, 48, Palmer, 3:36:03; Danielle Gerik, 23, Anchorage, 3:39:10; Joanne Myles, 40, Eagle River, 3:40:54; Maria Bray, 40, Fairbanks, 3:42:44; Sarah Haltness, 40, Anchorage, 3:45:50; Holly Barclay, 37, Anchorage, 3:48:39; Kelly Driver, 46, Anchorage, 3:50:34; Kristen Lindsey, 45, Anchorage, 3:52:57; Veronica Beagan, 55, Anchorage, 3:56:44.
April Juliussen, 51, Anchorage, 4:04:20; Brenda Noble, 46, Anchorage, 4:06:41.