Elhard snaps Seward title drought in junior race

Posted: Wednesday, July 05, 2000

SEWARD -- Jake Elhard scored one for Seward Tuesday.

The 17-year-old won the junior division of the 73rd running of Mount Marathon to become the first Seward runner to win a Marathon race since Aubrey Smith took the girls side of the junior division race in 1997.

Elhard finished going halfway up and down the 3,022-foot mountain in 28 minutes, 46.8 seconds.

"It's been a long time since anybody from Seward won," Elhard said. "It was something I felt I had to do."

When asked if residents of the town were more than aware of the drought, Elhard gave a simple, "Oh, yeah."

Elhard reached the halfway point of the race in second place behind Anchorage's Sean McMahon, the eventual second-place finisher.

"Once somebody told me I was in second, I didn't want to let the guy in first out of my sight," Elhard said.

McMahon had about 50 yards on Elhard at the midway point, but Elhard, who trains on the mountain two or three times a week, passed McMahon on the way down.

The girls portion of the race was not nearly as close. Anchorage's Kikkan Randall dominated from start to finish to win her third straight girls junior title.

Randall finished in 33:28.2 and missed breaking Smith's 1997 record of 33:01.

"I totally wanted to go for the record, but I got a virus Tuesday and that made it hard," Randall said. "I felt OK, but I didn't have any pep in my step."

Smith, who is friends with Randall, said she wanted Randall to break her record.

"She was sick," Smith said. "She stayed at my house and when she first called me, I could barely understand what she was saying on the answering machine because she was hoarse."

Randall is one of the country's best junior skiers and has won numerous titles in prep cross country, cross-country skiing and track for East High.

But even with that experience, she still couldn't help but get nervous before Tuesday's race.

"It's just one little mountain race in my career, but I get psyched up for this race," Randall said. "There's something special about it."

Other results in the race showed things may be looking pretty rosy for the Skyview cross country team this fall.

Amy Lambe, who will be a senior for the Panthers this fall, finished third in the girls race with a time of 39:35.0. It was Lambe's first time doing the race, although she had gone up the mountain twice before for fun.

"This helped me get started with my training this summer, so that should help me in cross country," Lambe said. "I'll actually be in shape."

In the boys portion of the junior race, Skyview senior-to-be Leon Galbraith overcame a brief skid on his butt to finish fourth in 31:49.0, while fellow Panther Jacob Fellman was ninth in 32:52.7.

Galbraith, who started running cross country his junior year, said he is glad to be crashing down mountains instead of crashing into bodies.

"I played football for two years, but I'm not really built like a football player," Galbraith said. "I got smacked around quite a bit."

Another peninsula runner to make the top 10 was Homer's Nahanni Wills, a 15-year-old who will be a junior next year and holds the record for girls 12- to 14-year-olds at 37:53.

Wills overcame a scary episode in last year's race to finish eighth in 42:09.4 this year. Last year, Wills passed out from heat exhaustion in the last road portion of the race.

"I passed out for a couple hours," Wills said. "That definitely stuck in my head this year. I was nervous. That's probably why I had trouble breathing on the way up."

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