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15-year-old climbs 24,000 feet in 10 hours to win Alyeska Climbathon

  • Author: Alaska Dispatch News
  • Updated: September 9
  • Published September 9

Michael Connelly, 15, leads another runner up the last stretch before reaching the top of the mountain Saturday in the Alyeska Climbathon. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

Fifteen-year-old Michael Connelly reached new — and repeated — heights Saturday at the 10th annual Alyeska Climbathon, an arduous uphill-only race on the steep North Face trail.

After placing second last year and third the year before, Connelly finished as king of the hill by making a record-tying 12 trips up the steep slope in slightly less than 10 hours.

Runners had 10 hours to make repeated trips up the North Face, which is 2.2 miles long with 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

Some made one trip to the top of the mountain, rode the tram down to the Hotel Alyeska, and called it a hearty day of climbing.

Others got off the tram and headed back uphill, over and over again.

Runners make their way up the North Face switchbacks. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

Claiming second place was Aubrey Smith, who made 11 trips up the mountain for a total of 22,000 feet. She tied the record for the most laps by a woman.

Eight people managed 10 laps for a total of 20,000 feet of climbing.

Connelly clocked the fastest lap of the day by making his first trip up the North Face in 32 minutes, 19 seconds.

His slowest lap came on his seventh trip to the top — 55:27. He completed his 12th and final lap in 50:27.

In 2016 and 2015, Connelly completed 11 laps to finish second and third, respectively.

Smith, a former elite-level cross-country skier, opened with a 39:47 lap. Three times she needed more than an hour to make the trip, but she finished strong by making her 11th and final lap in 50:01

Aaron Christie and other runners ride the tram down after running up the North Face Trail. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

1. Michael Connelly 12 laps; 2. Aubrey Smith 11 laps; 3. Mike Heatwole 10 laps; 4. Russell Devries 10 laps; 5. John Collins 10 laps; 6. Heather Moon 10 laps; 7. Michael Caviston 10 laps; 8. Cole Posthumus 10 laps; 9. Andy Varner 10 laps; 10. Aaron Christie 10 laps; 11. Matthew Novakovich 9 laps; 12. Kat Roch 9 laps; 13. Roman Gross 9 laps; 14. Amy Johns 9 laps; 15. Dave Blanchet 9 laps; 16. Shelby Dykstra 9 laps; 17. Liz Butera 8 laps; 18. Stephen Peterson 8 laps; 19. Bill Burgess 8 laps; 20. Chuck Pratt 8 laps; 21. Chris Cleary 8 laps; 22. Kyle Kelley 8 laps; 23. Ward Van Sickle 8 laps; 24. Michelle Oneil Puryear 8 laps; 24. Elizabeth Walker 8 laps; 26. Rachael Posey 7 laps; 27. Beth Elliott 7 laps; 28. Josh Novakovich 7 laps; 29. Erika Thompson 7 laps; 30. Rebecca Melesciuc 7 laps; 31. Brenner Zaccaro 7 laps; 32. Jessica Heinrich 7 laps; 33. Carrie Varnell 7 laps; 34. Jason Christy 7 laps; 35. Jeff Frizzell 7 laps; 36. Chelsie Goocey 7 laps; 37. Richard Anthony 7 laps; 38. Catherine Moncrieff 7 laps; 39. Dessa Zaccaro 7 laps; 40. Amanda Tuttle 6 laps; 41. Rush Taylor 6 laps; 42. Claire Smith 6 laps; 43. Nathan Teater 6 laps; 44. Michelle Humphrey 6 laps; 45. Teresa Arnold 6 laps; 46. Kalyan Westley 6 laps; 47. Carolyn Novakovich 6 laps; 48. Liz Novakovich 6 laps; 49. Agnes Krzyzanowska 6 laps; 50. Gus Olson 6 laps; 51. Megan Olson 6 laps; 52. Diellza Mehmeti 6 laps; 53. Marco Zaccaro 6 laps; 54. Erin Wade 6 laps; 55. Brittney Cornell 6 laps; 56. Megan Nathan 6 laps; 57. Zechariah Taylor 6 laps; 58. Renee Stephens 6 laps; 59. Allison Murray 6 laps; 60. Megan Clancy 6 laps; 61. Irving Stoller 6 laps; 62. Jeremy Stoller 6 laps; 63. Andy Sterns 6 laps; 64. Camy Vansickle 6 laps; 65. Christopher Kirk 5 laps; 66. Kirk Louthan 5 laps; 67. Alex Youngmun 5 laps; 68. Ethan Eski 5 laps; 69. Benjamin Meahan 5 laps; 70. Brandee Taylor 5 laps; 71. Summer Louthan 5 laps; 72. Kianna Wika 5 laps; 73. Ben Habecker 5 laps; 74. Dave Roch 5 laps; 75. Alexandra Jefferies 5 laps; 76. Bob Butera 5 laps; 77. Martin Cassens 5 laps; 78. Kelly Smith 5 laps; 79. Michele Stapley 5 laps; 80. Alison Selvik 5 laps; 81. Jody Clingenpeel 5 laps; 82. Kristine Sonido 5 laps; 83. Jamie Whiteman 5 laps; 84. Yuliya McDaniel 5 laps; 85. Kelley Jansen 5 laps; 86. Erin Egan 5 laps; 87. Julie Wahl 5 laps; 88. Marcia Sorensen 5 laps; 89. Yereth Rosen 5 laps; 90. Emily Schnell 5 laps; 91. Sundrayah Stoller 5 laps; 92. Gabi Miller 5 laps; 93. Kaeden Anderson 5 laps; 94. Mary Eckardt 5 laps; 95. Kat Bevis 5 laps; 96. Camila Grajcarek 5 laps; 97. Sue Wilkens 5 laps; 98. Shannon Lampen 5 laps; 99. Darren Burks 5 laps; 100. Chris Potosky 5 laps; 101. Jody Potosky 5 laps; 102. Stella Stoller 5 laps; 103. Ginny Cook 5 laps; 104. Ben Armentrout 4 laps; 105. Janice Cleary 4 laps; 106. Ross Timm 4 laps; 107. Ingrid Gavalya 4 laps; 108. Jillian Gavalya 4 laps; 109. Torre Hunter 4 laps; 109. Wendy Sailors 4 laps; 111. Sierra Anderson 4 laps; 112. Josh Preston 4 laps; 113. Audrey Preston 4 laps; 114. Marissa Pedersen 4 laps; 115. Maggie Donnelly 4 laps; 116. Akiko Schaetzle 4 laps; 117. Nicole Fredrick 4 laps; 118. Emily Austin 4 laps; 119. Ron Cook 4 laps; 120. Leland Zaccaro 4 laps; 121. Jennifer Heim 4 laps; 122. Jessica Paneak 4 laps; 123. Kathleen Anthony 4 laps; 124. Kylie Hendren 4 laps; 125. Marq Grabowski 4 laps; 126. Jennifer Shannon 4 laps; 126. Nickolas Shannon 4 laps; 128. Berntina Sankwich 4 laps; 129. Brittany Smith 4 laps; 130. Laura Sanfacon 4 laps; 131. Josef Gross 4 laps; 132. Shannon Markley 4 laps; 133. Denise Lutton 4 laps; 134. Kim Burgess 4 laps; 135. Mandy Bowron 4 laps; 136. Katy Bowron 4 laps; 137. Sky Pride 3 laps; 138. Michelle Richards 3 laps; 139. Ashlee Werner 3 laps; 140. Abi Carruba 3 laps; 141. Ted Phelps 3 laps; 142. Amy Anderson 3 laps; 143. Hayley Youngmun 3 laps; 144. Gwyneth Gavalya 3 laps; 145. Sara Lopez 3 laps; 146. Alex Post 3 laps; 147. Katriina Timm 3 laps; 148. Mark Wondzell 3 laps; 149. Samuel Michel 3 laps; 150. Nicole Rogers 3 laps; 151. Tom Burke 3 laps; 152. Thomas Conley 3 laps; 153. John Espindola 3 laps; 154. Dana Espindola 3 laps; 155. Renee Helie 3 laps; 156. Hollins McCarley 3 laps; 157. Julie Frizzell 3 laps; 158. David Compton 3 laps; 159. Sherry Decoteau 3 laps; 160. Rachel Thompson 3 laps; 161. Amanda Gilliland 3 laps; 162. Timothy Carlson 3 laps; 163. Noah Schliesman 3 laps; 164. Brooke Duggan 3 laps; 165. Ginny Grabowski 3 laps; 166. Neil Ritz 3 laps; 167. Luca Eski 3 laps; 168. Joey Eski 3 laps; 169. Natalya Nazarenko 3 laps; 170. Morgean Carlson 3 laps; 171. Laci Ellis 3 laps; 172. Kris Miller 3 laps; 173. Kelly Drake 3 laps; 174. Elaine Christy 3 laps; 175. Karina Huffaker 3 laps; 176. Maria Mandich 3 laps; 177. Dylan Garbe 3 laps; 178. Emily Bowron 3 laps; 179. Jenna Bowron 3 laps; 180. Timothy Garbe 3 laps; 181. Fred Esposito 3 laps; 182. Akilina Willars 3 laps; 183. Joanie Hope 3 laps; 184. Annie Luck 3 laps; 185. Alex Slivka 2 laps; 186. Westley Dahlgren 2 laps; 187. Kevin Wondzell 2 laps; 188. Brenton Gunn 2 laps; 189. Micah Richards 2 laps; 190. Shoshana Weed 2 laps; 191. Marcia Templin 2 laps; 192. Bryan Anderson 2 laps; 193. Aaron Clayton 2 laps; 194. Jonathan Lee 2 laps; 194. Dmitrii Lee 2 laps; 196. Alison McCullough 2 laps; 197. Clarice Conley 2 laps; 198. Nadezda Makarova 2 laps; 199. Jean Marcey 2 laps; 200. Cathy Mcgregor 2 laps; 201. Valerie Flynn 2 laps; 202. Kristine Zajac 2 laps; 203. Haley Craig 2 laps; 204. Dana Hubbard 2 laps; 205. Kayleigh Puma 2 laps; 206. Jim Bowron 2 laps; 207. Teresa Sellers 2 laps; 208. Karen Furrer 2 laps; 209. Karen McCreary 2 laps; 210. Henry Olson 2 laps; 211. Loch Anderson 2 laps; 212. Mitzi Bolaños 2 laps; 213. Lorinda Troppmann 2 laps; 214. Stephen Cimachowicz 2 laps; 215. Alicia Miner 2 laps; 216. Steph Barthelman 2 laps; 217. Melissa Hardesty 2 laps; 218. Christine Cothran 2 laps; 219. Vicki Weiss 2 laps; 220. Arianna Espindola 2 laps; 221. Shannon Noonan 2 laps; 222. Kevin Fimon 2 laps; 223. Sherry Pederson 2 laps; 224. Brian Burnett 2 laps; 225. Alicia Tolman 2 laps; 226. Becky Cook 2 laps; 227. Megan Benton 2 laps; 228. Dixie Wright 2 laps; 229. Kelly Wright 2 laps; 230. Ari Hope 2 laps; 231. Arlene Rost 2 laps; 232. Selena Petersen 2 laps; 233. Ben Napolitano 2 laps; 234. Svea Lunoe 1 lap; 235. Savannah Anderson 1 lap; 236. Lisa Oakley 1 lap; 237. Thede Tobish 1 lap; 238. Lubava Wessels 1 lap; 239. Matthias Espindola 1 lap; 240. Allison Capps 1 lap; 241. Cole Anderson 1 lap; 242. Lucy Olson 1 lap; 243. Logan Paxton 1 lap; 244. Joe Pride 1 lap; 245. Shannon Erickson 1 lap; 246. Jessica Nyce 1 lap; 247. Rebekah Summer 1 lap; 248. Jackie Bennett 1 lap; 249. Krystal Kompkoff 1 lap; 250. Kathy Moss 1 lap; 251. Katerina Wessels 1 lap; 252. Rebekah Woodman 1 lap; 253. Chrisy Armstrong 1 lap; 254. Ken Sankwich 1 lap; 255. Patricia Delgado 1 lap; 256. Adela Pederson 1 lap; 257. Dorothy Brewer 1 lap; 257. Cheryl Tope 1 lap; 259. Camilla Seifert 1 lap; 260. Colin Ely 1 lap; 261. Jervea Wright 1 lap; 262. Kathy Meyer 1 lap; 263. Mary Rita Ely 1 lap; 263. Tessa Ely 1 lap; 265. Suzanne Fairbanks 1 lap; 266. Wendy Hallback 1 lap; 267. Gwendolyn Carlson 1 lap; 268. Joe Fuller 1 lap; 269. Kim Schliesman 1 lap; 270. Anise Masterson 1 lap; 271. Hannah Monzingo 1 lap; 272. Katheryn Powers 1 lap; 273. Connie Sankwich 1 lap; 274. Frieda Bean 1 lap; 275. Mason Hardesty 1 lap; 276. Corlis Taylor 1 lap; 277. Connie Prince 1 lap; 278. Chelsea Farrell 1 lap; 279. Carol Makar 1 lap; 280. Ellie Burnett 1 lap; 281. Phillip Hardesty 1 lap.

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