The 3,022 foot rock awaits.

 

There’s still snow on the ground, but July Fourth doesn’t seem that far away. Mount Marathon race organizers brought us closer to that summer classic — making the entries public for the 2017 competition in Seward.

 

Last year’s men’s winner, David Norris, will be back to defend his title. As a 25-year-old rookie, the Alaska Pacific University skier not only won, but broke the course record in 41 minutes, 26 seconds.

 

Runner up Nick Elson, of Squamish, British Columbia, will be there, too.

 

Three-time champion Eric Strabel is back after a third place finish last year.

 

The mystery lies with the 2015 champion, Spaniard Kilian Jornet. Like Norris, he won as a rookie and made it look easy, smashing the old record. But he wasn’t in Seward last year to defend his title. He is listed on the race website as entered, however Mount Marathon is not on the schedule on his website. KTVA has reached out to Jornet’s agent for his plans.

 

Norris, who is just beginning his off season after the ski season, is hopeful Jornet will be there. But either way, he’s now the known quantity and the guy everyone is watching.

 

“It’s a bit of change from last year,” Norris said. “There are so many good mountain runners in Alaska, it’s going be a deep field — even without one or two select stars. So many people want to get that win.”

 

The ladies’ side is just as intriguing and loaded with talent.

 

Christy Marvin, of Palmer, aims for her third crown after a thorough victory in 2016.

 

Denali Foldager-Strabel (Eric Strabel’s wife) took third and is entered. And so is Allie Ostrander.

 

She was pursuing a spot in the Olympics last summer, but will look for her first win in the women’s division.

 

Najeeby Quinn was fourth and will too be in search of her first title.

 

Like Jornet, the big question lies with the 2015 champion Emelie Forsberg. The Swede (also Jornet’s girlfriend) is listed as entered on the Mount Marathon site, but it’s unknown if she plans to run.

 

The juniors’ race starts at 9 a.m. The women take off at 11 a.m. and the men start at 2 p.m. Both the women and men will have two waves beginning five minutes apart to give the contenders the front avoid any holiday traffic jams. The junior boys and girls run together.

 

You can watch full Mount Marathon coverage on KTVA and KTVA.com.

 

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