Runner Spotlights Presented by Altra

BRIAN BECKSTEAD
Founder of Altra, ultrarunner, and fly fisherman extraordinaire

Alaska was a place I’d wanted to visit since I was young. My favorite book as a child was Where the Wild Things Are…so no surprise I was drawn to Alaska with its rugged mountains, expansive views, eclectic residents and wild animals galore. Obsessed with fishing, running, and outdoor adventure throughout my life, I packed up my car and drove to Seward, Alaska early May 2003 to work for the summer.  Within days I was in love!  As an avid runner, everyone asked me if I was going to run Mt Marathon.  I didn’t know what it was but decided to check out the course.  Talk about a shock to the system!  And then I watched it occur in glorious fashion on July 4th 2003 as well as 2004.  I knew that I had to run this race. Having done hundreds of races in 10 states and 9 countries over the last 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like it before or since! 

And finally, after 15 years of dreaming, I got into my first Mt Marathon.  Not only as a runner but the presenting sponsor equipped with my own shoe company started 7 years earlier in my basement and a shoe that was built to spec for such a course, the Altra King MT.  The race was everything I dreamt it to be!  The lung sucking uphill, the quad busting downhill, and a bloody fall to boot, I finished with a smile on my face.  Ya, I’ll be back in 2019 and beyond.  Like a fish, hooked for life to Alaska, Seward, and Mt Marathon.

HAYDEN HAWKS
Altra Elite Team

Who wouldn’t want to run Mount Marathon? Mount Marathon brings out all the emotions in one short but extremely steep and technical mountain race. It brings a sense of excitement, fear, love for the mountains, toughness, pain, freedom, and much more. It is my kind of race! I have always had a love for the mountains and have excelled in mountain races. I have run and won numerous VK mountain races around the world and also won a World Championship at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria with the USA national team placing 4th individually. This is how I got my start with ultra and mountain running. My first trail race was, in fact, the US Mountain Running Championships at Loon Mountain Race in New Hampshire in 2016 where I qualified for the US mountain running team! Not only do I have a lot of connections with mountain running but I have a lot of connections in Alaska! My wife and I have family that have lived in Wasilla, Alaska for many years. We have made trips to Alaska to visit them, run, and fish over the years. We fell in love with Alaska and is our favorite place to travel in the entire world! Not only do we love the mountains and wilderness of Alaska but we really enjoy the people!

Mount Marathon will be my second race in Alaska after running and winning the 2015 Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon in my road running days. I hope to have a similar result at Mount Marathon this year, but also have mad respect for the local athletes that dominate this race every year and of course a lot of respect for the mountain! I hope to use my climbing ability to make it to the top in a fast time and then hold on for dear life for the ride down on some of the most technical terrain that I have ever experienced! It will be a fun but challenging race and a dream come true! I plan on taking it all in and enjoying the experience with my shirt off at the start and finish line! See you soon Alaska! 

LAUREL DEVORE
Altra employee and ultrarunner

My history with Mount Marathon goes back to 2010. Following my junior year of college, I spent a summer working in Homer, AK. For July 4th some fellow coworkers and I made the trip to Seward and I was immediately captivated by Mount Marathon. This race was like nothing I had ever experienced—from the crowded streets of town to the rugged, snowy, rocky mountainside it was such an incredible feat of human strength and grit. First place finished with seemingly barely a scratch, then second place (not far behind) rolled in bloodied, battered and passing out from exhaustion. I was hooked. “sign me up!” I decided I would return in 2011 and complete this race. I waited 7 years before my name was drawn in the lottery! Although my dream of running this iconic race was on hold, my love for Alaska grew, I returned the next 3 summers to work in this beautiful state, each time falling deeper in love with the beautiful land and community.

When I was finally chosen in the Mount Marathon lottery in 2017 the experience truly was a dream. I pushed hard, sweat and blood dripping, I ate up the sprint through town, the grueling climb, and screaming descent. I finished with a kick through the streets of Seward, collapsing at the finish from sheer exhaustion and joy. I wore the Altra King MT this first year and will never wear any other shoe for this race—it is simply made for the mountain!

In 2018 I raced Mount Marathon on the worst ankle sprain I’ve ever experienced, setting a PR on my uphill time and hanging on for dear life in a jolting descent. I have to give a huge shout out to Advanced PT in Seward for their incredible taping job prior to the race- go see them while you’re in town! These days I run a lot of ultras (mainly 60-100 miles) so Mount Marathon is a fun, tough short adrenaline rush for me! This year, I could not be more stoked to return for my 3rd year toeing the line. I can already see the incredible community of Seward Alaska lining the streets, hiking up the mountain to douse me with water, pour beer into my gasping mouth, and cheering me in with the most incredible enthusiasm only this day can bring. See you on the mountain!