Aaron Fletcher of Anchorage joined the ranks of Alaska's fastest marathon runners with a record-setting run Saturday in Utah.
Fletcher, 25, won the St. George Marathon in a course-record time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 45 seconds.
The time is the second fastest 26.2-mile time by an Alaskan. Topping the list is the 2:09:32 recorded by Chugiak High graduate David Morris at the 1999 Chicago Marathon — a result that made Morris the American record-holder.
Though Fletcher's time is better than the 2:15:00 qualifying standard for the 2020 U.S. Olympic marathon trials, he didn't qualify for that race because the St. George course loses too much elevation from start to finish.
USA Track and Field standards permit an elevation loss of 137 meters, or about 450 feet, in a point-to-point marathon. The St. George race loses 780 meters, or 2,560 feet, of elevation.
"It's still spectacular," said Anchorage runner Jerry Ross, whose 2:24:32 at the 2011 Boston Marathon ranks among the top 15 fastest times by Alaska men. Alaska's fastest marathon time by a woman is Chris Clark's 2:31:35 at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Saturday's race continued a hot streak for Fletcher, who lives in Utah.
In May, he shattered the record at the Timp Trail Marathon in Orem, Utah, where his 3:07:40 took 23 minutes off the previous mark. In August, he won the inaugural 26.8-mile Elephant Rock Trail Run in 3:36:38 and followed that with a 1:04:46 half marathon at the Top of Utah Half Marathon in Logan, Utah, where he shaved 24 seconds off the previous record.
His victory Saturday clipped 1:11 off the previous St. George Marathon course record.
"(It's) been a good year for me," Fletcher said in a Facebook post. "I've run four races, winning and setting the course record in all of them. It has been very rewarding to have this success after years of hard training."
In his race recap, Fletcher said he ran the first half of the race in 1:08:40, which included stopping to get a water bottle at Mile 3 — workers at the aid station weren't ready when Fletcher and second-place finisher Jon Kotter (2:17:30) got there, he said — and tending to a nosebleed that lasted from Mile 9 to Mile 12.
"The people in the lead car were kind enough to pass me some tissues and I was able to keep pace until the bleeding stopped," Fletcher wrote.
As a member of the South Wolverines cross-country team, Fletcher won three straight Cook Inlet Conference championships (2006-08). At Brigham Young University, he earned NCAA Division I All-America honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Alaska's Top 5 marathon times
David Morris, 2:09:32, 1999
Aaron Fletcher, 2:14:45, 2017
Jesse Cherry, 2:16:31, 2012
Rick Wilhelm, 2:17:00, 1991
Kris Mueller, 2:19:26, 1986
(The fastest time by a woman is Chris Clark's 2:31:35 at the 2000 Summer Olympics.)