Mt. Marathon


Karl Mechtenberg of Seward finishes the 2019 Mount Marathon Race. 

Mt. Marathon — Alaska’s most storied mountain race that takes place on Fourth of July in Seward — is not immune to the corornavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Mt. Marathon officials announced that the 93rd edition of the race, which brings thousands of visitors to Seward, is being rescheduled for Sept. 6 or postponed until July 4, 2021.

“This postponement, done foremost to protect the public’s health, is a great disappointment,” Mount Marathon Race Director Matias Saari said in the release.

“However, it is in the best interests of the racers, the City of Seward, and the event’s volunteers, officials, spectators and sponsors. Postponement is necessary given the statewide restrictions on nonessential travel and group gatherings. Also, racers would soon have begun training in Seward in increasingly large numbers.”

Saari — the men’s record holder for Kodiak’s Pillar Mountain Run — said a decision on whether to run the race on Sept. 6 or in 2021 would be made by June 1.

The race up the 3,022- foot Mount Marathon is limited to 375 men, 375 women and 300 juniors. 

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Mount Marathon started as a bar bet in 1915. The race has been canceled 13 times since then, most recently in 1942 because of World War II.  

 It was also announced on Tuesday that Anchorage’s Mayor’s Marathon was canceled. The event, which includes a 5-kilometer run, a half-marathon and marathon, was scheduled for June 20. 



The Pillar Mountain Run — the longest-running race in Kodiak — has been shifted to August. 

The 9-1-mile run up Pillar Mountain is one of the centerpiece events of Crab Festival weekend, which was moved from Memorial Day to the week of Aug. 19 because of the virus outbreak.

“The plan is to go forward,” Kodiak Parks and Recreation Director Corey Gronn wrote in a text message. 

Gronn said the Pasaghsak-to-Kodiak Bike Ride and the Ididarock — both organized by the Parks and Recreation — will also be during Crab Fest in August.

The Pillar Mountain Run debuted in 1977. 

The punishing race starts and finishes in downtown Kodiak. In between, runners endure a 1,270-foot climb up a mountain that overlooks the city. The terrain includes a gravel road going up Pillar and a narrow trail going down the mountain into Swampy Acres. 

Saari set the men’s record of 51 minutes, 46 seconds in 2011, while Kristi (Waythomas) Klinnert) owns the women’s record with a time of 57:29, set in 1987. 

As for the Earth Day Triathlon,  Gronn said he is currently looking at potential dates for that event. 

Last year’s triathlon, which features a 1K swim, a 5K run and a 20K bike ride, was in early May. 


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