Muddy Mount Marathon

Oh, what fun I had running Mount Marathon Race in the mist and mud!

Oh, how I love thee, Mount Marathon

It was a blast. Like being a kid and playing in the mud. Zooming down the snow chute on top of the mountain was like nothing else. Truly!

I had the second slowest time ever: 1:30, but had the most fun ever. In my book, that means a successful race, no?

Look how muddy I am after the race. There is even mud in my teeth, hee, hee.

The race started in coldish temps, around 47 degrees. It had been raining and everything was damp and muddy, and the mountain was covered in mist and fog.

I started with the first wave, i.e., the fastest runners.

The madness of the first-wave start area. Where am I? I dunno. MM took the pic (thanks, honey). Wish I had a butt like the woman in the blue shorts, though.

I stayed in the middle of the pack during the uphill half mile run to the mountain’s base. Then I ran around and climbed up the cliffs, instead of the roots. This added extra time and distance but is much, much safer. Plus, I was with a pack of really cool women, and we all talked and joked back and forth.

Second-wave racers heading up toward the mountain. Source: Not sure

Then we were on the trail. And it was muddy! And anyone who reads this blog probably knows that I LOVE running in the mud.

This was almost a dream. It was so muddy that it was impossible to run, let alone climb, up the steep ridges (38%-55% grade). We had to keep to the side of the trail and pull ourselves up on tree roots, branches and sometimes, weeds.

I slipped and climbed, slid and climbed. I was muddy by the halfway point.

Women’s winner Holly Brooks, who finished the whole race before I even made it to the top of the mountain. You go, girl! (And can I one day have arm muscles like yours?) Source: ADN
Some of the top pack runners on a foggy and misty race day. Source: Anchorage Daily News.

The most fun was the snow chute. After reaching the top, a slope of snow reached out for about 600 yards down the mountain. The chute was narrow enough so that once you sat down, you were locked in. It was like those giant slides at amusement parks, and it was so, so much fun because once you picked up speed, there was no means of stopping or slowing down. Terrifying but fun (!!)

Snow chute from a few years ago. Source: Anchorage Daily News

Snow chute from a few years ago. Source: Anchorage Daily News

Well, it wasn’t fun after I finished. That snow cut my skin so that I was snow-burned and bruised. Here is what my butt looked like later that evening. And this is only the part I can show. It’s more cut up near my, um, delicate lady parts, sigh, sigh.

This is after getting dirt/rocks scraped out at the medical tent.

I took the downhill portion slow. Each time I wanted to speed up I thought: You have another marathon in two months and yes, you want to run it with your face intact and all of your teeth.

Downhill portion during the junior race. Source: Anchorage Daily News.

Thank goodness, too, because there were downhill injuries in all of the race division, and the men’s race injury was serious enough to warrant medivac to an Anchorage hospital.

I finished soaking wet, muddy and dirty and happy to be in one piece, with only minor bruising.

Almost, almost to the finish line.

I ended up with snow burns/cuts over my butt, thighs and back plus a nice gash running from my wrist to elbow. I consider myself very, very lucky.

And as of now, early Thursday afternoon, there is a man missing from the men’s race. He was last seen about 200 yards from the top of the mountain and wasn’t wearing his glasses. Please send prayers. It was 47 degrees and raining during the race and colder last night. He was wearing only running shorts and a tee shirts.

Still, my race was wonderful and I had a mystical moment near the top, when I thought of my sister and swore she was there, running beside me (can’t say more because I’ve signed the story rights away to Alaska magazine, sigh, sigh). It was beautiful and magical, and I consider myself lucky to be part of such a race.

Cheers and happy running, everyone. I’m off to soak my aching butt.

4 thoughts on “Muddy Mount Marathon

  1. Ah Ah Alaska

    No, this is the fourth day of the search and they still haven't found him. It doesn't look good at this point. Really a shame, too. Poor guy just wanted to run the race. Yet, of all the places to die, on top of Mt. Marathon wouldn't be so bad. It's very mystical up there, and so wonderfully silent.


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