Mount Marathon race is back - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, October 22, 2021
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Mount Marathon race is back

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After taking a year off because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 93rd Mount Marathon Race is a go. The race will take place Wednesday, July 7 in Seward, Alaska. Normally the event is on July 4, but was moved this year to reduce the number of people in downtown Seward.

The course is a 1.5 mile climb up, and down that shale-slippery Mount Marathon, which attracts runners from around the country, although mostly from Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.

Mike Heatwole of Anchorage has run it 21 times, and will be running it again on Wednesday. He describes it as a race that has four parts: The first part is a run to the base of the mountain, which is about a half-mile uphill on a normal grade. Then it’s a mile to the top of the mountain, the first section being a scramble trough through the trees on steep cliff-like conditions.

“The downhill is one of the most unique aspects of the race. The shale allows you to open it up [as a controlled fall], if you dare. Then you hit the road again and run to the finish. You put all that pressure going uphill then all the pressure downhill, and then hit the road … and your legs just protest. They can only take so much,” he said.

For the amateur athlete, the reward is the experience of the cheers of the crowd, which is is exhilarating.

This year’s Covid protocols has 50 runners released from the starting line every 2 minutes.

Heatwole’s son will be running again in the youth boys division and his daughter will be running again; this will be her first race in the adult women’s division. For the Heatwole’s, this is a family affair.

The race starts at 8:30 am with the youth division.

More information about the iconic race at the official Mount Marathon webpage.

Donations Welcome


Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Why in the name of God are they still using covid protocol?

  • I’ve always thought that this Mt. Marathon race is a perfect example of idiocy in action. Yeah, let’s not just merely hike up and down a steep and dangerous mountain, let’s RUN, for God’s sake! Talk about inviting an accident! But to each their own.
    (Now, if I were truly a leftist, as some simplistic binary ‘thinkers’ here believe, I would demand that this race be forbidden under penalty of governmental coercion, i.e. law. But I would never propose anything like that.)

  • Whatever happened to the dude who ran to the top and never came down? Did they ever find his body? Did the authorities check in Columbia or Peru?

    • Didn’t the life insurance company put a tail on his wife and found her driving a Lamborghini in West Palm Beach?

    • He snuck down the backside of the mountain and was later gender reassigned. He’s now competing as a woman in distance races.

      • She (he) entered the race this year.

      • Slip out the back, Jack;
        And set yourself free…..🎶

  • I agree with Jean!!! Why are we still inserting COVID into everything? The media, politicians and Leftists continue to control with fear! We need to stop making stupid people famous 🇺🇸

    • well, at least everyone IN TOWN will be “safe” from Covid since we’ll run the event midweek instead of the weekend. That way, LESS people will help the economy of Seward…all in the name of safety from the Covid. One day, we may look back on this season and act as if we knew all along it was idiocy. But for now, most will act like it’s noble.

  • Why are you ruining a perfect Alaska tradition for a bad policy?

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