(Adam launching over Matt on their way to 3rd and 4th in last year’s Mount Marathon)
Mount Marathon is a terrifying race. Every year, hundreds of men and women from around the world gather in the small town of Seward for the Fourth of July ritual. The mountain rises over 3,000 feet from the downtown streets and the ‘trail” begins with a class 4 climb up either a set of cliffs or a wall of tortuous roots. After scaling these obstacles, racers plunge into a thick and humid forest where the heat becomes unbearable for most. At roughly half way, the brush opens to a rugged, rocky shale face which stretches to the summit. Once on top, the race course leads to a steep bowl of loose scree, snow or an unfortunate melange of the two. Rubbery, numb legs carry the racers down two scree slides and funnel them into the mouth of creek affectionately referred to as “The Gut”. From here, unsteady footing and slippery rocks present a considerable challenge on a set of exploded quads. After exiting the creek bed, racers launch through a short forest section and are faced with a tricky cliff decent prior to hitting the road for a roughly half-mile sprint to the finish.
A preview of the decent
Roughly 10 days ago, we decided to preview the mountain for the fast approaching race. The weather was hot but the skies were generally clear. We climbed and descended the mountain twice, hammering the descents. The course changes in small ways each year, however, there were no surprises on the way up. The descent was a bit more firm than in years past however, I anticipate the scree to have loosened over the past week. There was a small patch of snow near the top that has inevitably melted with past week of scorching weather. The legs are still a little sore from the effort but we’ll give it our best shot!
Good luck to all the racers! We are looking forward to a difficult and (hopefully) a smoke-free race.