Mount Marathon News

On the Roster for 2021?

Did you notice that the race now has a brand new website address? Everything Mount Marathon can now be found at mountmarathon.com

New email address

For fifteen years, racers have used one email address for all their race questions, and that email has now changed. Please direct all race questions and registration inquiries to:

[email protected]

Make sure you get race updates by email

  • Check your Spam folder often
  • Add [email protected] to your Address Book
  • Add to your Safe Senders List (also called Whitelist, Rules, and Filters)
  • Click the email link above now, and send us an empty email, so your mail server and software know you WANT to hear from us

Don’t use your work email for race news

Corporate, education and government email servers have much higher security relating to Spam, and can block or reject email from a mailing list like the Mount Marathon Race’s news.

Stay in the know

It’s more important now, than ever, that racers on the 2021 roster stay up to date on registration and rule changes and Covid-19 mitigation plans. We appreciate your help ensuring you get all the information you need!

2021 Registration Changes

Due to the 2020 race not being held as a result of COVID-19, the following changes for 2021 registration have been implemented by the race committee, outlined below.

Also, please be sure to review again, the 2020 Rule Changes announced last year! 


Registration Changes for 2021

Info for Priority status registrants

Info for those listed on the 2021 Race Roster

  • All racers on the 2021 roster must either 1) confirm their intention to race on July 7, 2) defer to 2022 (no reason or documentation required for approval, this year only), or 3) relinquish their spot in the 2021 race.
  • Racers on the 2021 roster who confirm to race in 2021 will NOT be charged a registration fee.
  • A link for those on the 2021 race roster to confirm, defer to 2022 or relinquish will be delivered by email, to the address used for 2020 registration on February 28, 2021 at 8:00 pm. Please check your email, and your Spam folder.
  • The 2021 race spot of any racer who fails to complete this process during the designated time period, for any reason, will be relinquished. 
  • Racers who choose to relinquish their spot in the 2021 race are subject to all existing registration rules – be sure you understand how the decision will impact you individually. The status of priority registrants who hold 10-year status, and past race winners would not be impacted.
  • Confirmations, deferrals or relinquishments made by mail, phone, email or any other communication method are not valid.
  • Juniors who have aged in to the 2021 men’s or women’s races are required to pay the $50 difference between the junior and adult fees (watch your email for an invoice from Mount Marathon Race)

Info for adult race Lottery applicants

Info for junior race Lottery applicants

  • Junior race lottery applications (to fill the spots available by juniors aging into the adult races) will be taken between March 1 and 15 only.
  • The regular junior race lottery application fee, and additional payment for lottery winners, will apply.

Info for one-time spot petitioners

Mount Marathon Race moved to July 7

The 93rd Mount Marathon Race has been rescheduled to Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

Citing safety concerns and the challenge of mitigating risk among spectators and participants during a pandemic, the Mount Marathon Race Committee voted to shift the race from the 4th of July holiday weekend to the middle of the subsequent week.

“The crowds will be much smaller on a Wednesday and that is important for holding a race as popular as Mount Marathon during COVID-19,” race director Matias Saari said.

Mount Marathon is traditionally held on the 4th of July and draws about 900 racers and many thousands of spectators. Like most large events in 2020, the race was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, its first cancellation since 1942.

This year’s date change is not unprecedented: in 1927 the race was moved to Sunday, July 2 at the request of visitors who wanted to watch but couldn’t stay beyond the weekend.

The race committee’s decision means that planning for the 93rd running will continue, but it does not guarantee the race will actually be held. A final decision on the race status will be announced by June 4 after careful consideration of the pandemic’s situation and review of local, state and national health mandates and recommendations.

The race plan will include extensive COVID-19 mitigation.

“Our mission is to make the event as safe as possible for racers, volunteers, officials, sponsors, spectators and the residents of Seward,” race director Matias Saari said.

On Feb. 5, the race committee made several other impactful decisions:

  • Between March 1-15, those on the 2020 roster must reconfirm their intent to participate in 2021, defer to 2022 or decline their spot.
  • For adults seeking entry in 2021, men’s and women’s lotteries will NOT be held. Few spots were expected to be available and the committee cited the need to simplify the race plan for 2021. Lottery odds are expected to improve due to extra spots in 2022.
  • For youth seeking entry in 2021, a junior race lottery will be held with applications accepted from March 1-15. Forty-four juniors are aging in to the adult races in 2021, making those spots available in a junior lottery.
  • Petitions for a one-year entry in 2021 will be accepted from March 16-31.
  • An online auction is planned for June (dates to be determined) for 10 men’s and 10 women’s spots. No in-person auction the night before the race will be conducted.
  • The updated 2021 roster will be announced in mid-April.
Christy Marvin descends in 2019. Photo by Joel Krahn

The oldest mountain race in the U.S. has been called the “toughest 5K on the planet” by Outside magazine. It goes steeply up 3,000 feet on Mount Marathon and plummets back to downtown Seward, encountering many obstacles and dangers along the way.

The current women’s roster includes past champions Christy Marvin, Hannah LaFleur, and Olympian Jessica Yeaton along with several accomplished mountain runners from the Lower 48 and Canada.

The men’s roster includes 2019 champion Max King from Oregon, race record holder David Norris of Anchorage, 2017 champion and Olympic skier Scott Patterson, professional runner Zach Miller from Pennsylvania, Iditarod dog mushing legend Dallas Seavey and Seward’s Fred Moore, 81, who returns for his 51st consecutive race.

The Mount Marathon Race is owned by the Seward Chamber of Commerce and organized by the Mount Marathon Race Committee.

For more information, visit www.mountmarathon.com.

93rd Running – Race Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 93rd running of the Mount Marathon Race will not be held in 2020, the race committee decided on May 29. The committee had previously postponed its traditional date of July 4 and was considering an alternate date of Sept. 6.

“Not having Mount Marathon in 2020 is a great disappointment and a decision the committee took very seriously,” race director Matias Saari said. “The committee considered multiple scenarios for attempting to hold a race in 2020. However, it could not adequately mitigate risk and safely adhere to State of Alaska and CDC large community events pandemic guidelines for spectators, participants and volunteers.”

The 93rd Mount Marathon Race is now scheduled for July 4, 2021.

The committee considered, but rejected, conducting a scaled-back event that would have implemented wave starts with fewer runners, asked spectators to stay away, spread the men’s, women’s and junior races over three days, and eliminated popular elements such as the live auction and awards ceremony.

“The committee felt that a diluted event simply would not do the Mount Marathon Race justice. The heart of Mount Marathon has always included a mass start and thousands of cheering fans on the 4th of July,” Saari said.

Organizers conducted a survey of registered runners May 24-28. Of 560 respondents, 38 percent said they would not participate in a race scheduled for Sept. 6, while 43 percent said they would and 19 percent were not sure. Primary reasons for staying away included safety and health concerns due to the pandemic, students returning to college, travel challenges, planned hunting trips and other schedule conflicts, and respecting the 4th of July race tradition.

“Nearly half the race roster saying they wouldn’t participate on Sept. 6 was very telling,” Saari said.

The entire roster for the 2020 race will be frozen and rolled over to 2021. Anyone planning to participate will be required to re-confirm their registration in March 2021. Since all have the opportunity to participate in 2021, no refunds for 2020 will be granted. Those who opted to use their one-time Skip-A-Year for 2020 will be added to the 2021 roster and retain their Skip-A-Year option.

A registration lottery will be held for junior racers in 2021 because 44 spots will open up from 17-year-olds aging in to the adult races. It is currently unknown whether a lottery for the men’s and women’s races will be possible.

The eight-member committee’s decision was unanimous and included the approval of Saari, the race director, and Jason Bickling, the director of the Seward Chamber of Commerce, which owns the event.

The Mount Marathon Race is the oldest mountain race in North America, and annually draws about 1,000 runners and many thousands of spectators to Seward. Although held continuously since 1943, the race was not run between 1920 and 1924, from 1932 through 1938, and finally in 1942 as an indirect result of World War II.

 

2020 Race postponed

After careful consideration, the Mount Marathon Race Committee has postponed the 93rd running from July 4, 2020, to a date to be determined.

Using information from health and government officials about the outlook for holding large events amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the race committee will announce by June 1, 2020, whether to re-schedule for Sunday, September 6, 2020 (Labor Day weekend) or to postpone until July 4, 2021.

This postponement, done foremost to protect the public’s health, is a great disappointment. 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.

Additionally, participants deserve adequate notice for 4th of July planning purposes including travel and lodging. Organizers also need assurance the race is feasible before spending the effort and funds required to conduct an event of Mount Marathon’s logistical scope.

Meanwhile, the 4th of July Festival organized by the Seward Chamber of Commerce is still tentatively scheduled to proceed. On June 1, the Chamber will decide whether to continue to plan, postpone or cancel the 4th of July festivities.

The Mount Marathon Race roster will be announced April 15, 2020. Roster spots will be guaranteed for whenever the 93rd running is held. Once a new race date is scheduled, revised entry policies including deferrals will be outlined.

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to seeing you on the mountain when it is again safe to gather there.

Sincerely,
Matias Saari, Mount Marathon Race Director
& the Mount Marathon Race Committee
& the Seward Chamber of Commerce

What we’re doing now:

  • The random lottery selection process has been run.
  • One-time petitions have been reviewed, and some approved by the Committee.
  • The race roster is being finalized, and will be posted to our website on April 15.
  • Lottery winners and approved petitioners will receive a PayPal invoice by email for the remaining $65 of their race fees. This must be paid by April 30 to secure your spot in the race.

What we’re doing next:

  • Locking in the race roster as posted on April 15th. The listed racers, lottery winners and approved one-time petitioners on that roster will be the next group wearing a Mount Marathon Race bib.
  • Monitoring ongoing global events as they relate to a possible September 6 date.
  • Announcing by June 1, 2020 if the September 6th date is possible, or whether we will have to postpone until July 4, 2021.
  • Announcing bib and wave assignments by June 1, 2020.

What we’re NOT doing:

  • We will not be accepting any deferral requests or wave change requests until we have a confirmed race date.
  • We’re not issuing registration refunds for any reason, so we are ready and able to pull the race together as quickly as possible.

What YOU need to do now:

  • Watch your email for information on the status of your priority registration or lottery application — everyone will be sent a message prior to the April 15 roster posting.
  • Whether you get our email or not (check your spam folder!), check the April 15th race roster on this website. If you are listed, you are locked in for the 93rd running of the Mount Marathon Race.
  • Lottery winners and approved petitioners must pay the remaining $65 racer fee by April 30 to secure their spot in the race.