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Emotional record for Ross at Lost Lake

  • Author: Mike Campbell
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published August 21, 2010

As Anchorage runner Jerry Ross blazed downhill over the last third of Saturday's backcountry Lost Lake Run, securely in front of 704 runners, tears coursed his cheeks.

Whether they were tears of joy or sadness, he could not say.

Ross knew he was running well on the breathtakingly beautiful course that was bathed in sunshine early on -- fast enough to eventually set a course record of 1 hour, 36 minutes, 50 seconds.

But he couldn't stop thinking of his friend and former teammate Laird Prosser, who died last year of complications of diabetes at age 31. Prosser, the former Dimond High running star who went on to compete at the University of Oregon, established the rarely sniffed Lost Lake race record of 1:37:13 a decade ago.

"He was one of my two or three best friends in the world," Ross said. "To have a moment like that when I broke down and cried while I was running, it was pretty strange. It was surreal.

"I was thinking how hard Laird ran on this course. He trained his ass off, and ran so hard the day of the race.

"Most records are going to be broken. But to be the guy to break Laird's record is probably the most meaningful moment I've had in racing. Just to get to see my name next to his ..."

Ross' voice broke. Although the race ended hours earlier, the emotions of the day had not faded.

Ross and Prosser were teammates on coach John Clark's 1991 state championship cross-country team at Dimond High.

"When he trained for this race, I remember, he was running 90-mile weeks," Ross said. "He might have come down once or twice over the summer to run the course, but he was so fit nobody could touch him."

Until Saturday, the closest anyone had come to Prosser's record was Sam Hill's 2008 run that was nearly a minute slower.

"I like to get out real hard so I don't have to deal with people," said Ross, who won for the fourth time in five years.

After a rain-filled August, a couple of sunny days had dried the course, leaving only the occasional muddy spot. Sun at the start morphed into heavy mist and wind at the top.

With a variety of conditions, Lost Lake rewards a variety of runners -- road runners like Ross, nordic skiers like women's champion Holly Brooks and mountain runners like former Mount Marathon champion Matias Saari, who was third among the men.

"What a fabulous cause and a fabulous scene," said Brooks, who made her debut in 1:53:57, more than three minutes faster than runner-up Najeeby Quinn. "I mountain biked the course last weekend, and it was horrible. It was a day after all that rain had closed the road into town.

"This race has some good karma," she said. "On the downhill, spectators are out there cheering for you, but you have to look at the trail because it's so technical. Take you your eye off the trail and pretty soon you're on your butt."

Quinn finished for the first time, after a bad ankle sprain knocked her out of her previous attempt.

"She puts me in my place and lets me know what I need to be training for," Quinn said of Brooks. "I haven't done much training this summer."

Like Brooks, Quinn appreciated all the fans on the last portion of the trail.

"Oh my God, you have to say 'trail' all the time," she said. "Everyone was cheering running down."

Mark Iverson, the men's runner-up who skis at Alaska Pacific University with Brooks, said he stayed within a minute of Ross until the final four miles of searing downhills. He finished in 1:38:36.

"I surprised myself a little bit today," he said.

The Colorado native seems to be blossoming at APU, and the 27 hours he spent training on Eagle Glacier above Girdwood earlier this month left him fit. He finished just behind Eric Strabel at the Alyeska Mountain Run last weekend.

But fit athletes weren't the only winners Saturday.

Lost Lake, in its 19th year, is a fundraiser in the fight against cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract. It is one of the most common chronic lung diseases in children and often results in early death.

Marsha Vincent is the race founder, and two of her four children are afflicted.

This year, organizers raised $162,000, according to race director Patrick Simpson. That put Lost Lake over the $1 million mark since 1992, when 31 runners competed.

Complete results will be posted at www.lostlakerun.org.

Lost Lake Run

Saturday in Seward

Top 50 Women -- 1) Holly Brooks, 1:53:57; 2) Najeeby Quinn 1:57:00; 3) Kristi Waythomas 2:03:48; 4) Briana Sullivan, 2:06:22; 5) Jess Walsh 2:14:20; 6) Colleen Miller Bolling 2:14:45; 7) Mandy Vincent-Lang 2:14:54; 8) Mary Barrett 2:17:07; 9) Paige Brady 2:17:33; 10) Therese Trujillo 2:20:15; 11) Lisa Dale 2:20:30; 12) Connie Best 2:21:12; 13) Sherry Lentfer 2:21:13; 14) Gina Ortiz 2:22:02; 15) Lynn Swanson 2:22:04.8; 16) Jennifer Schrage 2:22:15; 17) April Nelson 2:23:08; 18) Kristen Sieminski 2:23:53; 19) Jessica Horras 2:24:45; 20) Josie Garton 2:25:00; 21) Dorothy Shearn 2:25:11; 22) Pamela Todd 2:25:17; 23) Heather Gaines 2:26:11; 24) Lucy Swygman 2:26:25; 25) Angie Meahan 2:26:30;

26) Jenni Mishler 2:27:49; 27) Laura Fox 2:27:52; 28) Monica Perez-Verdia 2:28:04; 29) Doreen Rossberg, 2:28:12; 30) Karol Fink 2:28:22; 31) Patricia Foldager 2:28:23; 32) Cindy Freistone 2:28:51; 33) Meredith Schoenfeld, 2:28:57; 34) Katherine Borchers 2:29:16; 35) Greer Gehler 2:30:13; 36) Emily Mechtenberg 2:30:52; 37) Selina Sanders 2:31:19; 38) Teresa Bickling 2:31:27; 39) Cornelia Jessen 2:31:29; 40) Kristin Krom 2:32:16; 41) Kate Kaufman 2:32:26; 42) Jennifer Davis 2:32:42; 43) Joey Williams 2:32:46; 44) Kenda Blanning 2:34:51; 45) Kim Kersten 2:34:59; 46) Nellie Love 2:35:02; 47) Stacy Johnson 2:35:11; 48) Elizabeth Morgan 2:35:42; 49) Katherine Catlin 2:36:40; 50) Dawnell Smith 2:36:42.

Top 50 Men -- 1) Jerry Ross 1:36:50; 2) Mark Iverson 1:38:36; 3) Matias Saari 1:40:55; 4) Warren Hancock 1:48:03; 5) Jens Beck 1:48:23; 6) Luke Oliver 1:49:42; 7) Trond Flagstad 1:49:53; 8) Robert Whitney 1:50:08; 9) Alan Stoll 1:51:12; 10) Jeremiah Felsen 1:51:36; 11) Mark Brady 1:53:05; 12) Lee Bolling 1:53:07; 13) Matthew Green 1:53:20; 14) Michael Forsland 1:53:27; 15) John Collins 1:53:41; 16) Isaac Bertschi 1:53:49; 17) Bixler McClure 1:55:17; 18) Jeffrey Young 1:55:22; 19) Erik Schoen 1:55:51; 20) Chris Morgan 1:56:52; 21) Mark Blanning 1:56:55; 22) Thomas Wells 1:57:45; 23) Jonathan Casurella 1:58:03; 24) John Weddleton 1:58:04; 25) Timothy Blake 1:59:03;

26) Jason Burkhead 1:59:20; 27) Keith MacPhail 2:00:43; 28) John Wilson 2:03:13; 29) Tommy Blair 2:03:37; 30) Matthew Kenney 2:03:49; 31) Brad Benter 2:04:10; 32) Jeff Jessen 2:05:24; 33) Samuel Hurst 2:05:47; 34) Jesse Peterson, 2:06:03; 35) Jeff Bristow 2:06:06; 36) Jeff Conaway 2:06:14; 37) Joseph Thomas 2:07:10; 38) Andrew Duenow 2:07:26; 39) Richard Suddock 2:07:31; 40) Bob Gerik 2:08:05; 41) Mark Stevens 2:08:12; 42) Mike Brock 2:08:12; 43) Fred West 2:08:47; 44) Jonathan Kastar 2:08:59; 45) Jim Magnan 2:09:17; 46) Scott Clemetson 2:09:34; 47) Joshua Allely 2:09:55; 48) Brian Pekar 2:10:18; 49) Marc Esslinger 2:10:20; 50) Lee Dewilde 2:10:24.

Women's Teams -- 1) Leading Ladies (Kristi Waythomas, Jess Walsh, Heather Birch, Clair Norton-Cruz), 10:54:15; 2) BP Bog Trotters (Stephanie McShane, Sherri Gould, Janet Platt, Pamela Pope) 13:29:55.

Husband-Wife Teams -- 1) OIA Still Awesome (Rob Whitney and Holly Brooks), 3:44:05; 2) C$ and the L-Train (Lee Bolling and Colleen Miller Bolling) 4:07:53; 3) Barrarndt (Jeff Arndt and Mary Barrett), 4:28:27.

Open Teams -- 1) Team Raven (Jerry Ross, Mark Iverson, Trond Flagstad, Najeeby Quinn), 7:02:19; 2) BP Crude Speed (Matthew Green, Thomas Wells, Bob Gerik, Mike Brock), 8:07:22.8; 3) ASRC Energy Services (Jens Beck, Chris Morgan, Andrew Duenow, April Nelson), 8:15:50.

By MIKE CAMPBELL

mcampbell@adn.com

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