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Ostrander, Kopsack win junior titles in muddy Mt. Marathon race

  • Author: Doyle Woody
  • Updated: July 7, 2016
  • Published July 4, 2013

Lyon Kopsack, mud-caked and merry, perched his forearm on a sawhorse in the finish chute, sipped bottled water and accepted congratulations from family and friends.

At least 90 seconds had passed since Kopsack crossed the finish line and yet not another runner was in sight on Fourth Avenue, the homestretch of Mount Marathon.

Kopsack, 17, of Palmer, not only won his first boys junior title in his last year of eligibility, but dominated the field on a rainy, blustery Thursday morning in this seaside town on the shore of Resurrection Bay. He clocked a personal-best 27 minutes, 3 seconds in the race halfway up 3,022-foot Mount Marathon and back into town, and topped runner-up Michael Marshall, 16, of Seward by 3:29.

Allie Ostrander of Soldotna, meanwhile, continued her historic domination of the girls race, delivering a record fifth consecutive victory and topping runner-up Alyson Kopsack, Lyon's sister, by more than six minutes.

Ostrander, 16, who holds all three girls age-group records, set yet another record. Her time of 31:40 slashed 70 seconds off her 2012 record in the 15-17 age group — her 2011 time of 30:32, run in good conditions when she was 14, remains the girls overall standard.

Lyon Kopsack comes from a mountain-running family. His father, Lance, has run Mount Marathon 30 times. His uncle Braun has run more than 30 Mount Marathons. His younger sisters Alyson, Jocelyn and Brooklyn all competed Thursday, and Jocelyn finished third. And his mother, Judi, usually runs Mount Marathon but took this year off with injuries.

"A lot of our summer centers around training,'' Lyon said. "Every day, I wake up and think of what I'm going to do to train.''

Despite inclement weather, blond-haired, blue-eyed Lyon rolled as the Kopsack men do — no shirt.

In his ninth Mount Marathon, the two-time runner-up — Kopsack finished second behind Miles Knotek in 2012 and 2011 — led from the outset.

"I kind of just started and never looked back,'' he said. "At the start of the race I told myself, 'I can only control what I can control, so never look back and go for it.' "

With Knotek, who aged out of the junior race after last year, cheering him on, Kopsack lopped 35 seconds off his previous best. The lower slopes of the mountain proved so slippery, Kopsack said, that he traveled on all fours.

"It was a little muddy,'' Ostrander reported, deadpan. "I got these trails shoes this year, and even just (low on the mountain) they were already packed with mud.''

Though she did not better her overall girls record, Ostrander considered her historic win a personal record of sorts.

"I consider it a personal best in terrible conditions, a minute faster than last year in the same conditions,'' Ostrander said. "It's exciting. But to me, it's more about giving my all, not just records.''

In the boys race, Marshall clocked 30:32 to finish second and Paul Butera, 16, of Anchorage, earned third place in 31:19.

Alyson Kopsack, 13, finished runner-up to Ostrander in 38:22. Jocelyn Kopsack, 16, took third in 38:39.

Lance Kopsack, standing just outside the finish chute and videotaping, said he was nervous for the junior race.

"I've got four up there,'' he said, glancing at the mountain.

Doyle Woody

Anchorage Daily News

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