• 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

  • Crime

    Anchorage crime trends predict hundreds of bicycles will be stolen this summer

    by Daniella Rivera on May 25, 0:08

    Bicycle shops in Anchorage say they think bike thefts are on the rise, and the people stealing them are bolder than ever. Police say the season of bike thefts is just beginning, and hundreds more are likely to be reported before summer ends. One man took off on a bike from The Bicycle Shop over […]

  • Lifestyle

    Combat Fishing Tournament 2016: More than 200 service members to participate

    by Joe Vigil on May 24, 23:58

    It is not always easy to be the new kid on the block, which is why a lot of people are pitching in to put on the annual Combat Fishing Tournament in Seward on Thursday. This year, more than 200 newly enlisted service members from around Alaska are taking part in the military appreciation fishing […]

  • News

    Cold climate house cuts costs in the Arctic

    by Heather Hintze on May 24, 22:53

    Driving around Anaktuvuk Pass, you’ll notice a home that’s a little out of the ordinary. The beige home looks like it came out of the Flintstones cartoon but has Jetsons’ technology. “The exterior of the house is a spray-applied membrane. It’s a Rhino liner, so it’s the same liner used in trucks. It’s really durable, […]

  • News

    Anchorage doctor accused of overprescribing painkillers to patients

    by Shannon Ballard on May 24, 22:45

    An Anchorage doctor has been accused by the Alaska State Medical Board of overprescribing painkillers to his patients. “Dr. Mahmood Ahmad, M.D., poses a clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety if he continues to practice medicine,” the board said when they suspended Ahmad’s medical license earlier this month. The investigation into Ahmad […]

  • News

    Biologist says kings aren’t early, fishermen are

    by Bonney Bowman on May 24, 22:16

    King salmon have returned to Ship Creek and fishermen are taking advantage of what some describe as an early run. Dustin Slinker, owner of The Bait Shack, said an angler landed the first king on May 13. He scrambled to set up shop two days later as he watched more and more people catch fish. […]

  • Crime

    Goose Creek DOC officer charged with drug distribution conspiracy

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 24, 21:41

    A Department of Corrections officer assigned to Goose Creek Correctional Complex was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession of a controlled substance. DOC officials contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this month when they began to suspect one of their officers, Adam Spindler, was distributing drugs to inmates at GCCC, according to an […]

  • News

    Combating heroin on the Kenai: The Soldotna survivor

    by Sierra Starks on May 24, 19:14

    Tammi Charlesworth passes by the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on her drive to work six days a week. The 35-year-old spent about two years there, serving time on a forgery charge. “I stole from my dad,” said Charlesworth. “And he turned me in, hoping to save my life.” Prior to her time at Hiland, she […]

  • News

    How to identify an unmarked law enforcement vehicle

    by Alexis Fernandez on May 24, 19:07

    A driver the Anchorage Police Department initially thought was pretending to be a police officer turned out to be a federal law enforcement agent in an unmarked SUV. It took APD three days to figure out the SUV belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) because it didn’t pop up in […]