Sophia Mayers

Anchorage’s Sophia Mayers and Wasilla’s Josh Taylor are both set to represent Team USA at next month’s Youth Skyrunning World Championships in Arinsal, Andorra.

During her upperclassman years, Mayers competed for West Anchorage and represented the Eagles at the 2021 state cross country championships.

Her times throughout high school were consistent, but in the mountains is where Mayers continues to thrive. She grew up climbing the prominent Chugach Mountains, where she relishes in the euphoria experienced above the clouds on Anchorage’s nearby summits.

“[It’s] an incredible feeling that I wish everyone could experience; it makes me feel like I can do anything, and it’s a feeling I can’t get enough of.”

For Taylor, growing up surrounded by a trail running environment strongly influenced his craft. He often accompanies his mother, Gail, an avid trail runner and routine age-group winner in a multitude of races, on training and racing days.

Josh Taylor

Like Mayers, Taylor also competed in athletics during his high school career, representing the Colony Knights in cross country and track and field, finishing his career as a four-time state qualifier.

On the trails, Taylor found success in an assortment of distances, from the storied Kesugi Ridge Traverse to Crow Pass Crossing, Bird Ridge, Lazy Mountain, Arctic Valley, and numerous others.

He compared skyrunning to life, analogous to the routine ups and downs, twists and turns.

“I’ve learned you can travel the same trail over and over, stumbling on new obstacles each time,” he said. “But with each misstep comes a new lesson—just like life.”

The Youth Skyrunning World Championships are slated for July 22-24, hosting both vertical and sky races, where a combined title will be awarded based on the results of the two disciplines.

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