Mammoth Marathon, 42/21/10K Freestyle Race, Mammoth Lakes, California is traditionally held on the first Sunday of April. This may be the best end of the season race, and quite possibly, the best end of the season party.
Mammoth Marathon is a long standing Eastern Sierra event that goes way back to the 1970’s, and in those early days when the race was strictly classic, Audun Enderstad could be seen flying through the narrow, quite forested course with no one else in sight, as he easily won the race, and left everyone scratching their heads saying who is this guy.
Today, the race course is designed by renowned ex-Olympian Nancy Fiddler, and it takes in all the highlights that Tamarack Cross Country Center has to offer. As many of the racers stay at the classic Tamarack Lodge (built in 1932) and its adjoining cabins, the race begins right there, and the warm-ups can be left behind as it’s out the door and onto the start-line.
This year, despite some threatening drizzle on Saturday afternoon, racers awoke to blue skies and good hard freeze overnight, in fact conditions were fantastic. The groomers had worked miracles overnight cleaning up the snow and the firm conditions made for a fast start of the first part of the course as it climbs out of Twin Lakes. The climb up Lake Mary Road is a gradual one before doing a figure-eight loop, and a lung gasping hill up Coldwater Canyon (9,200 feet,) before descending down a very skiing able, but thrilling “Mine Shaft”. The course repeats itself again and offers spectacular views of Crystal Crag and the Mammoth Crest. After descending down “Worley’s and Worley’s Blast (they speak for themselves) the finish is in sight for the half-marathoners but it is one more loop for the full distance.
This year’s finish was nothing short of exciting with Rick Reynolds and Terry Daley in a blistering sprint for the line — too close to call and treated as a tie in 1:59:36. The women’s race was won by Julie Young in 2:21:46. The half-marathon saw up and coming junior Matt Gelso win in 58:22, the women’s winner was Ann Klinefelter at 1:12.41. Tyler Wright won the junior boys10K in 28:59 and Whitney Prosor clinched the junior girl’s race in 31:34.
The organizers don’t stop with putting on a fabulous race, but also provide a catered meal at midday, and a chock full of prizes awards ceremony.
This race is such a classic and it has been attracting folks for many years, however, being a season ender it doesn’t get huge crowds so it is low key in many ways and a great way to end the season. If you have never been to the Mammoth Marathon you might just want to put this one of your list, you won’t be disappointed.
For full results go to: www.farwestnordic.org