Pillar Race

DEREK CLARKSTON/Kodiak Daily Mirror

Martin Schuster runs through the fog during the 2019 Pillar Mountain Race  in Kodiak. 

Two long-standing Crab Festival endurance races, organized by the City of Kodiak Parks and Recreation Department, will happen on Saturday, but both will have a different look. 

The most drastic change is with the bike race. Traditionally, cyclists pedal 41 miles from Pasaghsak to Kodiak. Not this year. The new route sends racers from the U.S. Army National Guard Armory building to White Sands Beach and back to the armory on Powell Ave, a loop of 21 miles. The route is similar to that used during the biking portion of the Earth Day Triathlon, also organized by Parks and Recreation.

“There is a bunch of road construction going on in Pasaghsak, and talking to contractors, it is almost expected that on race day they will be paving in one of three areas,” Parks and Recreation Director Corey Gronn said.  

The bike race begins at 9 a.m. Participants must register by 6 p.m. Friday at the Teen Center. 

The Pillar Mountain Run also begins and finishes at the armory. In previous years, the race started and ended downtown at St. Paul Harbor. 

“With Crab Fest being virtual, and not having the traditional setup this year, we opted to have a different start point. It makes it a little easier for us,” Gronn said.

Runners will take Birch Avenue to Pillar Mountain. After ascending the 1,270-foot peak that overlooks the city, runners will head down the mountain's backside and back to the armory. Gronn said the race remains 9.1 miles.

Gronn said start times could be staggered depending on the number of participants. Last year’s race was held in inclement weather and still drew 76 runners. Sun is forecasted for Saturday. 

The record for the Pillar Run is 51:46, recorded by Alaska mountain runner Matias Saari in 2011. Kodiak’s Kristi Waythomas (Klinnert) owns the women’s record with a time of 57:29, set in 1987.

The Pillar Mountain Run begins at 12:30 p.m., with registration from 11 a.m. to noon in front of the armory. Gronn said Kodiak Electric Association is sponsoring this year’s race, while Edward Jones is sponsoring the tennis tournament that started Monday and will end Sunday. 

“We are really excited to offer the races, but obviously we have quite a bit of modifications,” Gronn said. 

The city canceled the Ididarock, marathon, and ping pong and chess tournaments. Gronn said the awards ceremony has also been scrapped. 

“We will have awards and will be calling all our winners and will post results immediately online,” he said.   


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