Homer’s Pedro Ochoa runs on Bridge Access Road on the way to victory in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Pedro Ochoa runs on Bridge Access Road on the way to victory in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Ochoa claim’s second Kenai River Marathon

As one of the best mountain runners and backcountry racers Alaska has to offer, it’s not surprising that Palmer’s Christy Marvin has found herself momentarily lost in quite a few races.

What is surprising is that Marvin can now add Sunday’s Kenai River Marathon to that list.

Despite getting confused about the course for a few minutes, Marvin ran away with the women’s title on a glorious autumn afternoon, finishing the 26.2-mile course that loops from Kenai to Soldotna and back in 3 hours, 4 minutes and 49 seconds. Anchorage’s Sara Bryan was in second at 3:37:37.

The 5K, half marathon and marathon, which drew 220 runners plus 10 relay teams with four slots apiece, also saw Homer’s Pedro Ochoa repeat as the men’s marathon winner, Soldotna’s Dan McIntosh take the men’s half marathon and Eagle River’s Victoria Oxetenko take the women’s half marathon.

Marvin has done it all on the Alaska trail running scene, winning the last four Crow Pass Crossings, a 22-mile backcountry run; winning the Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks a record five times and holding the course record; and taking Seward’s Mount Marathon Race in 2014 and 2017.

But while her husband, Ben, has done The Boston Marathon three times, Marvin said she has always been too busy working or having babies to check off this particular item on her bucket list.

She came to the central peninsula and ran the Kenai River Marathon looking to change that.

“I’ve always heard good things about this event and about this course,” Marvin said. “Plus it’s one of the few Boston Marathon qualifiers in Alaska, and the only one that’s not during the mountain running season.”

Marvin beat the qualifying time by over 15 minutes and expects to race in Boston in 2020. The qualification didn’t come without difficulties.

For starters, two weeks and a day ago, she was setting the course record at the Equinox Marathon, considered one of the country’s toughest marathons because it climbs and descends 2,365-foot Ester Dome.

“My legs weren’t happy with me when they found out I was signing up for another marathon,” she said.

Then at the intersection of Poppy Lane and Kalifornsky Beach Road, Marvin became momentarily confused and had to get help from spectators.

“It was a little bit frustrating, but I was able to regain my focus once I got back on track,” she said. “Something like that always seems to happen to me the first time I do a race.”

As soon as Marvin finished, she immediately got back on the course to help her mother, Palmer’s Beth Virgin, try to qualify for Boston as well. Virgin was 15th in 4:18:29 to also meet her qualifying time.

“That makes for a happy car ride home,” Marvin said.

Ochoa defended his title and lowered his winning time from 2:56:06 to 2:53:55. Anchorage’s Rob Dolan was runner-up at 3:14:52.

As part of the National Guard Bureau Marathon Program, Ochoa had already run four marathons this summer. The last one took place on an 89-degree day in Ohio, so Saturday’s high in the upper 50s was welcome.

“This was flat and cool,” Ochoa said.

Ochoa, Annie Ridgely and Robert Ostrom all have ties to the Homer High School cross-country team. Last year, Ochoa won the marathon and Ridgely won the half. Ostrom couldn’t make it for the 5K. This year, Ostrom was the men’s 5K winner, with Cooper Landing’s Samantha Butler winning the women’s 5K, but Ridgely was busy and Homer was once again denied a sweep.

“I did my part,” Ostrom said.

The half marathons featured closer racing.

In the men’s half marathon, Seward’s Patrick Lewis held the lead for about nine miles before Soldotna’s Dan McIntosh passed him and held on. McIntosh ran 1:20:50, while Lewis was at 1:22:05. Interestingly, this may not have been the first time the two raced, because both are about the same age and ran high school cross-country in the Spokane, Washington, area.

“I started losing a little steam in miles eight and nine and he just passed me,” Lewis said.

McIntosh, who moved to the area a year and a half ago, wasn’t sure the pass would hold.

“I kept a steady pace for a mile or two, but then I began to slow down and I half expected to see him again,” McIntosh said.

Lewis has been treating himself to a steady diet of races this summer and said he is happy to be finishing the season running his best. He credited his training partners in Seward.

“The Seward running crew is really motivating,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going. Every race, it seems there’s at least someone else going.”

In the women’s half marathon, Soldotna’s Susan Craig tried to chase down Eagle River’s Victoria Oxetenko, but came up just short. Oxetenko finished at 1:40:32, while Craig was at 1:40:58.

Craig’s quest was hurt by recent history. Last year, Oxetenko was leading going into the final stretch before Ridgely and Jesse Pierce blew by her to relegate Oxetenko to third. Oxetenko handled the disappointment so well she got the race’s sportsmanship award.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “They came out of nowhere.”

The course doesn’t have many corners, so Oxetenko is still not sure how she missed the duo. But Craig would not have the same luck.

“I looked behind me,” Oxetenko said. “I wasn’t going to let it happen again.”

Anchorage’s Ira Edwards defended the men’s handcycle title, but as he likes to point out, he also finished dead last again because he was the only entrant.

In 2010, Edwards was working as an Alaska State Parks ranger when a tree-cutting accident broke his back. Last year, he came to Kenai looking to put up a time that would burnish his effort to get into The Boston Marathon.

He did Boston this year, in 32 degrees and snow at the start, 34 degrees and rain at the finish, and a 20 to 25 mph headwind with gusts the whole time.

“It’s nice that I’m a tough Alaskan,” he joked.

Edwards did the Kenai River Marathon in 2:05:11 last year, but slipped to 2:08:38. He does not plan on doing The Boston Marathon this year.

“I catch, grow and kill everything I eat, but I don’t do grains and dairy,” he said. “I haven’t been spending as much time training.”

The relay title went to Rustin Hitchcock, Patrick Metzger, Sean Goff and Joey Klecka, winning in 3:12:47. The group agreed that Hitchcock, as the runner of the lead leg, was at fault for ruining any attempts to keep up with Marvin.

“I lost her pretty quickly,” Hitchcock said.

Kenai River Marathon

WOMEN: Five kilometers — 1. Samantha Butler, Cooper Landing, 24 minutes, 48 seconds; 2. Amelia Hall, Soldotna, 25:10; 3. Maddy Campbell, Kenai, 26:33; 4. Katie Stockton, Kenai, 26:33; 5. Sarah Hollers, Soldotna, 30:23; 6. Alyssa Murphy, Soldotna, 31:12; 7. Stephanie Ray, Seward, 31:25; 8. Emily Kutz, Kasilof, 32:12; 9. Hadley Kornelis, Soldotna, 33:01; 10. Melanie Hollon, Sterling, 33:22; 11. Eliza Anders, Kenai, 33:23; 12. Cathleen Brown, Arlington, Texas, 33:50; 13. Viorica Thompson, Kenai, 34:33; 14. Maria Sweppy, Soldotna, 35:58; 15. Jayme Jons, Kenai, 38:27; 16. Leia Montgomery, Soldotna, 40:18; 17. Mary Rhyner, Kenai, 41:03; 18. Marietta Kornelis, Soldotna, 41:04; 19. Lana Woods, Anchorage, 42:54; 20. Diane Nickell, Wasilla, 46:25; 21. Sara Dennis, Kenai, 47:07; 22. Jennifer Tollackson, Soldotna, 47:08; 23. Heidi Kershaw, Wasilla, 52:54; 24. Diane Webb, Kasilof, 53:27; 25. Janie Montague, Englewood, Ohio, 1:01:31; 26. Nancy Henricksen, Kenai, 2:00:44.

Half marathon — 1. Victoria Oxetenko, Eagle River, 1:40:32; 2. Susan Craig, Soldotna, 1:40:58; 3. Amanda Cherok, Homer, 1:41:35; 4. Kristen Buckwalter, Homer, 1:43:34; 5. Elizabeth Roedl, Homer, 1:45:08; 6. Jillian Fellman, Chugiak, 1:45:14; 7. Sondra Stonecipher, Soldotna, 1:46:31; 8. Petra Richards, Willow, 1:46:53; 9. Sandy Cumming, Austin, Texas, 1:46:53; 10. Kristie Cotroneo, Sterling, 1:47:51; 11. Elizabeth Hardie, Soldotna, 1:48:30; 12. Stephanie Keller, Fairbanks, 1:48:45; 13. Amanda Day, Eagle River, 1:50:15; 14. Emily Heale, Kenai, 1:50:28; 15. Janelle Moerlein, Eagle River, 1:53:38; 16. Darcy Mueller, Homer, 1:54:27; 17. Anna Taylor, Anchorage, 1:55:04; 18. Frieda Tuttle, Nikiski, 1:55:11; 19. Maria Dammeyer, Soldotna, 1:55:15; 20. Lauren Pilatti, Nikiski, 1:55:54; 21. Michelle Fabry, Anchorage, 1:56:20; 22. Hannah Krause, Wasilla, 1:57:36; 23. Karen McIntyre, Anchorage, 1:57:59; 24. Paula Murray, Kenai, 1:58:12; 25. Hallie Peterson, Anchorage, 1:58:23.

26. Anna Maguire, Homer, 2:00:40; 27. Pam Iyer, Fort Collins, Colorado, 2:02:26; 28. Jessie Cashman, Homer, 2:02:43; 29. Janney Dunlavey, Chugiak, 2:02:53; 30. Soch Lor, Anchorage, 2:03:18; 31. Heather Renner, Homer, 2:03:18; 32. Devin Drake, Seward, 2:03:32; 33. Kristin Main, Anchorage, 2:04:32; 34. Margaret Shalit, Nikiski, 2:04:49; 35. Stefanie Gould, Soldotna, 2:04:50; 36. Sarah Hobart, Soldotna, 2:04:59; 37 (tie). Margret Nelson, Kenai, Mollie Pate, Soldotna 2:05:00; 39. Hannah Brewster, Anchorage, 2:05:35; 40. Debbie Rehder, Homer, 2:09:15; 41. Kelly Walker, Fairbanks, 2:09:41; 42. Emily Rom, Anchorage, 2:10:52; 43. Tatum Rozak, Kenai, 2:12:05; 44. Brooke Campbell, Kenai, 2:12:25; 45. Jo Oxetenko, Chugiak, 2:12:31; 46. Alane Hughes, Soldotna, 2:13:19; 47. June Stuckey, Soldotna, 2:13:23; 48. Joanna Karet, Anchorage, 2:13:47; 49. Deann Denter, Eagle River, 2:13:57; 50. Hillary Stump, Soldotna, 2:14:16.

51. Kathleen Sorensen, Seward, 2:14:31; 52. Lisa Thrasher, Anchorage, 2:15:42; 53. Amy White Baxter, Soldotna, 2:16:05; 54. Rachael Shannon, Big Lake, 2:16:24; 55. Hadassah Knight, Soldotna, 2:17:40; 56. Amanda Ritchie, Kenai, 2:17:42; 57. Destiny Lee, Eagle River, 2:19:12; 58. Kaley McGlasson, Kenai, 2:20:07; 59. Aimee Chauvot, Anchorage, 2:20:42; 60. Lauren Ferguson, Albuquerque, NM, 2:20:52; 61. Alyssa Frothingham, Soldotna, 2:21:37; 62. Jessica Denzer, Jber, 2:22:55; 63. Katie Thompson, Eagle River, 2:22:55; 64. Natalie Bickers, Palmer, 2:22:57; 65. Jesse Jezorski, Soldotna, 2:26:38; 66. Amy Russell, Homer, 2:28:21; 67. Teresa Doyle, Anchorage, 2:28:36; 68. Emily Soule, Eagle River, 2:29:10; 69. Stacy Tronnier, Kenai, 2:33:13; 70. Aubrey Morgan, Soldotna, 2:34:32; 71. Sharon White, Lancaster, PA, 2:38:11; 72. Rebecca Wilson, Wasilla, 2:40:15; 73. Nancy Anderson, Wasilla, 2:40:45; 74. Cheryl Dollick, Wasilla, 2:41:03; 75. Eliza Caguioa, Bethel, 2:50:07.

76. Elizabeth Cox, Nikiski, 2:51:29; 77. Sarah Pribbenow, Kenai, 2:51:30; 78. Maren Anderson, Homer, 2:55:28; 79. Carrie Lavallee, Anchorage, 2:56:53; 80. Kaye Pope, Palmer, 3:04:32; 81. Lori Evans, Homer, 3:05:33; 82. Kristin Webber, Kenai, 3:09:29; 83. Megan Silva, Chugiak, 3:09:30; 84. Kailey Crowell, Soldotna, 3:25:57; 85. Queenie Zook, Oak Harbor, WA, 3:34:42; 86. Renie Doherty, Collinsville, OK, 3:35:22; 87. Allegra Hamer, Anchorage, 3:41:42; 88. Forrest Nelson, Soldotna, 3:46:11; 89. Mary Starrs Armstrong, Kenai, 3:48:30; 90. Ruth Bratz, Anchorage, 4:31:42.

Marathon — 1. Christy Marvin, Palmer, 3:04:49; 2. Sara Bryan, Anchorage, 3:37:37; 3. Rosemary Rhodes, Anchorage, 3:43:32; 4. Amanda Waggoner, Kenai, 3:43:58; 5. Tonia Baklanova, Anchorage, 3:46:21; 6. Melissa Templin, Anchorage, 3:46:45; 7. Katie Sivertsen, Ketchikan, 3:53:03; 8. Kristy Garrett, Anchorage, 3:55:12; 9. Kamie Miller, Eagle River, 3:56:51; 10. Eva Hall, Anchorage, 4:02:40; 11. Megan Youngren, Soldotna, 4:04:26; 12. Brittany Nerland, Anchorage, 4:14:12; 13. Christine Jones, Sutton, 4:14:59; 14. Jennifer Booz, Homer, 4:17;37; 15. Beth Virgin, Palmer, 4:18:29; 16. Nadia Anders, Kenai, 4:19:44; 17. Mollie Messick, Soldotna, 4:20:21; 18. April Miranda, Palmer, 4:20:29; 19. Linda Barnack, Anchorage, 4:21:04; 20. Amelia Gilliland, Eagle River, 4:21:54; 21. Brie Drummond, Homer, 4:29:34; 22. Chisato Johnson, Kasilof, 4:30:35; 23. Lila Johnson, Homer, 4:31:50; 24. Anna Straka, Eagle River, 4:32:19; 25. Andrea Berington, Wasilla, 4:34:11.

26. Kristina Berington, Wasilla, 4:34:11; 27. Erika Fitzgerald, Fritz Creek, 4:42:13; 28. Kristine Johnson, Anchorage, 4:46:02; 29. Sarah Hurkett, Eagle River, 4:46:03; 30. Hali P Young, Eagle River, 4:50:15; 31. Barbara Hrubesh, Wasilla, 5:35:50; 32. Serena Seshadri, Anchorage, 6:11:42; 33. Angela Craft, Anchorage, 6:14:52; 34. Gabriela Alvarado, Anchorage, 6:59:15.

MEN: Five kilometers — 1. Robert Ostrom, Homer, 22:42; 2. Ben Morris, Kenai, 23:02; 3. Ben Boersma, Soldotna, 23:13; 4. Samuel Anders, Kenai, 23:48; 5. Seth Davey, Soldotna, 23:57; 6. Nate Nelson, Kenai, 24:04; 7. Jasper Hall, Anchorage, 26:01; 8. Ryan Peterson, Anchorage, 27:07; 9. Daniel Anders, Kenai, 28:32; 10. Jacques Thibeault, Anchoage, 29:05; 11. Frank Thomson, Anchorage, 30:23; 12. Thomas Rhyner, Kenai, 33:01; 13. David Bleicher, Anchorage, 35:31; 14. Travis Woods, Anchorage, 42:54.

Half marathon — 1. Dan McIntosh, Soldotna, 1:20:50; 2. Patrick Lewis, Seward, 1:22:05; 3. Ian Marks, Anchorage, 1:39:03; 4. Lee Frey, Soldotna, 1:39:11; 5. Don Connelly, Soldotna, 1:41:22; 6. Collin Becker, Eagle River, 1:49:49; 7. Dylan Denter, Eagle River, 1:50:48; 8. Christopher Davis, Eagle River, 1:51:16; 9. Toby Widdicombe, Anchorage, 1:52:23; 10. Carl Kincaid, Sterling, 1:53:09; 11. Justin Knobbe, Portland, OR, 1:57:51; 12. Myles Creed, Anchorage, 1:57:52; 13. Ryan Marquis, Kenai, 1:58:37; 14. Roy Stuckey, Soldotna, 2:02:57; 15. Jon Rhodes, Anchorage, 2:06:47; 16. Shawn Williams, Palmer, 2:06:48; 17. Timothy Gurnett, Palmer, 2:06:49; 18. Andrew Roth, La Vista, NE, 2:07:00; 19. Ethan Boyd, Soldotna, 2:12:04; 20. John Campbell, Kenai, 2:12:26; 21. Kristina Ferguson, Eagle River, 2:16:06; 22. Jed McGlasson, Kenai, 2:20:28; 23. Dustin Harrison, Seward, 2:20:53; 24. Matt Soule, Eagle River, 2:29:11; 25. Al Cumming, Austin, Texas, 2:29:26.

26. Matthew Estrada, Big Lake, 2:38:12; 27. Austin Martin, Clam Gulch, 2:38:53; 28. Timothy Pope, Palmer, 3:04:32.

Marathon — 1. Pedro Ochoa, Homer, 2:53:55; 2. Rob Dolan, Anchorage, 3:14:52; 3. Wes Hoskins, Palmer, 3:16:56; 4. Michael Minchaca, Anchorage, 3:20:37; 5. Mark Holman, Anchorage, 3:27:09; 6. Bill Keller, Fairbanks, 3:32:53; 7. Ben Matheson, Anchorage, 3:38:57; 8. Larry Nickell, Wasilla, 3:39:12; 9. Michael Eriks, Carterville, IL, 3:48:03; 10. Roger Lucas, Avon, IN, 3:58:56; 11. Matt Brown, Fayville, MA, 3:59:27; 12. Thaddaeus Werner, Eagle River, 3:59:36; 13. Jerry Jenkins, Anchorage, 4:03:03; 14. Brian Burns, Fritz Creek, 4:06:43; 15. Orrin Burton, Anchorage, 4:10:56; 16. Kevin Lauver, Soldotna, 4:11:46; 17. Donald Rhinehart, Kodiak, 4:17:16; 18. Leopold Jaschek, Palmer, 4:17:56; 19. Gary Stotler, Edgewater, CO, 4:22:57; 20. Michael Fisher, Anchorage, 4:23:04; 21. Jeff Estes, Eagle River, 4:23:04; 22. John Messick, Soldotna, 4:39:14; 23. Michael White, Lancaster, PA, 4:44:33; 24. Phil Nomura, Minneapolis, MN, 4:50:42; 25. Matthew Wertanen, Soldotna, 4:54:51.

26. Aja Hensley, Wasilla, 5:36:31; 27. Tom McCourt, Beavercreek, OH, 6:14:53.

Handcycle marathon — 1. Ira Edwards, Anchorage, 2:08:38.

RELAY: 1. Am I being, Kenai, 3:12:47; 2. The Young and, Soldotna, 3. Couples Therapy, Anchorage, 3:43:40; 4. Cabin Crew, Anchorage, 3:59:39; 5. #MtViewRocks, Kenai, 4:24:34; 6. swift feet, Kenai/Soldotna, 4:34:46; 7. Lightening Mc, Kenai/Soldotna, 4:57:52; 8. #KindnessCounts, Kenai, 5:01:06; 9. Amy Warfle, No Sweat, Kenai/Soldotna, 5:29:44; 10. Team Marco, Kenai, 6:42:20.

Anchorage handcyclist Ira Edwards cruises down Bridge Access Road on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, during the Kenai River Marathon. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Anchorage handcyclist Ira Edwards cruises down Bridge Access Road on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, during the Kenai River Marathon. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Michael Eriks of Carterville, Illinois, leads a pack of Kenai River Marathon racers through the early morning fog on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, on Bridge Access Road. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Michael Eriks of Carterville, Illinois, leads a pack of Kenai River Marathon racers through the early morning fog on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, on Bridge Access Road. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Frieda Tuttle leads Soldotna’s Maria Dammeyer down Beaver Loop Road during the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday. Tuttle was the 18th woman across the finish line, while Dammeyer was 19th. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Frieda Tuttle leads Soldotna’s Maria Dammeyer down Beaver Loop Road during the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday. Tuttle was the 18th woman across the finish line, while Dammeyer was 19th. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward’s Patrick Lewis strides down Beaver Loop Road on the way to a runner-up finish in the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward’s Patrick Lewis strides down Beaver Loop Road on the way to a runner-up finish in the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Palmer’s Christy Marvin climbs the last big hill on the Kenai Spur Highway on the way to victory in the women’s Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Palmer’s Christy Marvin climbs the last big hill on the Kenai Spur Highway on the way to victory in the women’s Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Dan McIntosh flies down Beaver Loop Road on the way to victory in the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Dan McIntosh flies down Beaver Loop Road on the way to victory in the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Eagle River’s Victoria Oxetenko floats down Beaver Loop Road on the way to victory in the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Eagle River’s Victoria Oxetenko floats down Beaver Loop Road on the way to victory in the half marathon of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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