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Dave Pusich of Juneau took fifth place and his older brother Paul took 11th place Saturday in the 12th annual Crow Pass Crossing, a 28-mile wilderness run near Anchorage.
A Crow Pass Crossing rookie, Dave Pusich covered the difficult course from Crow Creek, near Girdwood, to the Eagle River Visitors Center in 3 hours, 26 minutes, 58 seconds. Paul Pusich, who was running the race for the fifth time, posted a time of 3:34:14 for the course, which crosses a mountain pass, fords this summer's dangerously high Eagle River and meanders through the heart of bear country.
Just two days ago, race officials considered canceling or postponing the event, which is considered one of the state's most extreme wilderness runs.
They said Eagle River was running to high to safely cross and a rogue black bear had been hanging out along the trail. The problem bear had even opened up a tent at the Heritage Falls campground, about five miles from the finish line, and had been returning to the campground on a regular basis. The race has never been canceled or postponed in its history.
Lars Flora, a former cross-country skier for the University of Alaska Anchorage, captured his first overall title in the race as he led nearly the entire way to post a time of 3:16:49.
Harlow Robinson of Anchorage edged 1999 champion Kevin Donley by one second in a sprint for second place, with Robinson posting a time of 3:18:57 and Donley 3:18:58. John Heimerl of Palmer took fourth place in 3:22:00.
Nora Tobin of Anchorage claimed the women's title with a time of 3:46:03.