• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 12s

For Olympian Holly Brooks, Mount Marathon is everything

By Emily Carlson Photojournalist: John Thain - 7:27 PM July 1, 2014
SEWARD –

On the Fourth of July, the town of Seward will be jammed with thousands of runners, mountain lovers and spectators who gather for the iconic Alaska race: Mount Marathon.

This year’s women’s favorite is Olympian Holly Brooks. But the reason why the elite athlete climbs the mountain may surprise you.

When you’re an Olympic athlete, finding new ways to challenge yourself can be nearly impossible. But in the Chugach Mountains, Brooks finds the motivation to keep pushing. A cross-country skier in the last two Olympic Games, Brooks has found a sport even more addicting than the last.

“Some people call Mount Marathon the Olympics of Alaska,” Brooks said.

Training on the backside of Flattop Mountain, Brooks says wouldn’t have qualified for the Olympics if she hadn’t been toughened by Mount Marathon first.

“I was leading the race at the top and leading three-quarters of the way down. I don’t really remember much, but it was 80 degrees and I passed out literally right in front of the ER,” Brooks said.

In 2009, heat and dehydration foiled Brooks. She spent 11 hours in the emergency room with a blood blister on her foot, leaving only briefly to quickly cross the finish line.

“I discharged myself from the emergency room. I took the IVs out of my arm and walked across the finish line and then walked back to the hospital. I think I finished 212th that year,” Brooks said.

While the race drained her, it only fueled her competitive spirit. In that moment, Brooks realized she needed to push herself even harder in her other sport: skiing.

“I normally don’t believe in these kinds of things, but it came to me. A light bulb went off in my head that I was going to try and make the Vancouver 2010 Olympics,” she said.

Brooks made the 2010 Olympic team. Then, she pushed herself even further, winning Mount Marathon in 2012. Today, she calls the race her addiction, a drug that keeps her climbing higher.

The chunk of rock in Seward holds a few other special memories. In 2008, her husband Robert proposed to her two days before the race. The next year, she was married just a few days after she crossed the finish line. She’s the favorite going into this year’s race. For Brooks, however, the best part of the race isn’t winning.

“Mount Marathon is all about determination and pushing yourself,” she said.

From the steep incline on the mountain to the view from the top, Mount Marathon is everything to Brooks. Step by grueling step, which only a world-class athlete would love about home.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Fili’s Pizza drops liquor store application

    by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK on Mar 26, 19:01

    Fili’s Pizza has dropped its application to turn its restaurant into a liquor store, according to a story published by KYUK Public Media. Bethel City Council issued a protest of the license in February, mainly because of the site’s location. The pizzeria sits across the street from a halfway house and a cemetery, down the […]

  • News

    Sunken South Korea ferry lifted from sea floor

    by Associated Press on Mar 26, 18:26

    South Korean salvage crews have raised a sunken, 6,800-ton ferry out of the water and loaded it onto a transport vessel that will carry it to a port. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said Friday that the upper side of the Sewol had been lifted from the seafloor, where it was lying sideways after […]

  • Politics

    Trump tweets about Democrats, Freedom Caucus after health care bill fails

    by CBS News on Mar 26, 18:01

    President Trump initially publicly blamed Democrats for the failure of the Republican health care bill. But on Sunday morning, he hit the Freedom Caucus and outside groups, too, tweeting that Democrats in Washington are “smiling” after the conservative Republicans “saved” Planned Parenthood and Obamacare. Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the […]

  • Sports

    Alaskans bring home medals from the Special Olympics World Winter Games

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 26, 16:47

    Among the athletes at this year’s Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria were two Alaskans, both of whom brought home medals in their respective sports. Madison Englund is a snowboarder from Fairbanks and earned two medals at the games. Fellow athlete Jennifer Troutman hails from Anchorage and earned a medal in Alpine skiing. She was disqualified […]

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 6 – Seat K – South Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 26, 16:00

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography. The candidates’ full interviews and […]

  • Alaska troopers search for suspects in taxi driver’s robbery

    by KTVA / AP on Mar 26, 13:56

    Alaska State Troopers say they are searching for two men who robbed a taxi driver at gunpoint. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that a trooper news release says a driver for Arctic Cab picked up a man at Club Manchu early Saturday morning. Troopers say the man, who appeared to be in his early 30s, […]

  • News

    3 pilots inducted into Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 26, 13:20

    Three pilots were inducted into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame Saturday night. KTVA’s Joe Vigil was the master of ceremonies at the event, which honored pilots Holger “Jorgy” Jorgenson, Sam White and J. Vic Brown Jr. The ceremony is a major fundraiser for the Alaska Aviation Museum, which preserves the state’s aviation history, past […]

  • Trooper-involved shooting leads to deaths of suspect, K-9

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 26, 12:02

    Last updated at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 26 A Wasilla man and a K-9 died Sunday after a shooting involving Alaska State Troopers, according to an online dispatch. The incident began around 2:50 a.m. during an attempted traffic stop in the area of Bogard Road and Helen Lane in Wasilla, trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters […]