Over the years, the iconic Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon has been known by many different names – but one thing remains the same: It continues to be the signature marathon event of the summer. Happening over the Summer Solstice weekend, this race is a Boston Marathon qualifier, a weekend-warrior accomplishment and a bragging-rights event for anyone who partakes – whether it’s the Coastal 5K, the half marathon or the full 26.2 miles of marathon. And, thanks to Alaska’s endless daylight this time of year, you can run a full marathon and still have plenty of daylight with which to explore.
“We have over a thousand people signed up for the half marathon,” said Michael Friess, head track and field, and cross-country coach for the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, which hosts the annual event. “Two-thousand is our limit, and we may sneak a little over that, but it will level off with those who don’t compete. It’s going to be a full race.”
Friess said this is the race’s 44th year and once again, it is looking to be a fun one. Most years, some of UAA’s cross-country elite take part in the event, many of them at the front of the pack for much of the race. Past years’ winners have included former UAA cross-country standout Paul Rottich, who finished the 2016 race in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 17 seconds, beating his 2015 victory of 2:32.39 by more than 4 minutes. Before him came David Kipligat, another UAA runner, who blazed to victory in 2014 with a 2:32.11. Last year’s female winner was Trina PaStarr, who ran a 3:19.56 to beat the next competitor by more than 5 minutes – and it was her first-ever marathon. The men’s record still belongs to Michael Wisniewski who clocked a blistering 2:22:29 in 2009, but with a new field this year, it’s anyone’s guess who could finish first.
This year’s Anchorage Marathon is set for June 17, with some of the things folks have come to expect of the race. As of early May, Friess said there were race entrants representing 47 states and 17 countries. By race day in mid-June, he’s hoping to have at least one runner from every state represented.
“We have a great event poster that Debbie Mumma created, and gender-specific shirts – both long-and short-sleeved,” Friess said “I think people will like this.”
Also popular is the beer garden at the Rose Garden on Delaney Park Strip. Last year, Midnight Sun Brewing Co. and a signature Mayor’s Marathon Golden Ale, and plans are in the work for more of the same this year.
“And Great Harvest Bread will be there as well as those great Franz cheese sandwiches,” Friess said. “It should be good.”
State of the trails Next Post:
UAA Health & Fitness Expo shows youth how to get moving