Race Committee and Race Director

Race Committee Duties and Vacancies

The Mount Marathon Race Committee creates the race rules and organizes and executes much of the volunteer work vital to successfully holding the event. The committee generally meets monthly from January to August, with additional meetings leading up to the race and for determining the logo contest winner and considering petition requests. Major rule changes and other decisions are also approved by the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors because the Chamber owns the event.
The committee has vacancies from time to time. If you are interested in potentially serving on the committee, contact race director Matias Saari at director@mountmarathon.com

Karol Fink, Committee Member (Term expires August 2024)

Karol Fink moved to Seward in 1995 and decided it was the best place on earth. She first raced in 1997 and joined the race committee in 2003. She has completed more than 20 Mount Marathon races and is a jack-of-all-trades on the race committee, helping with race operations, registration, web updates, awards and maintaining historical records.

Amy Haddow, Committee Member (Term expires August 2024)

Amy Haddow of Seward first ran the Mount Marathon in 2005 at the age of 44 and then ran every year until 2012, with a best of 105th place in 2011. Amy is a big thinker and problem solver. She takes on tasks and gets them done.

Mary Beth Koster, Committee Member (Term expires August 2024)

Mary Beth (Zimmerle) Koster of Seward finished the Mount Marathon Race 22 times between 1998-2021, missing only 2009 (for an out-of-town celebration) and 2020 (due to the pandemic cancellation). She achieved her best time of 1:17:38 at the age of 50 in 2015. Her in-town home is used as a “base camp” for friends and family training on the mountain, and each family member has participated in the race. She joined the race committee in 2022; her duties include helping coordinate the start and finish line operations.

Geri Nipp, Committee Member (Term Expires August 2026)

Geri Nipp of Seward serves as a Mount Marathon Race Committee liaison with the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She serves as the start and finish coordinator on race day.

Stephanie Wright, Committee Member (Term Expires August 2026)

Stephanie Wright, of Seward, auctioned in to the 2008 Mount Marathon and remains an active racer. Her best result was 57th place in 1:14:40 in 2019. She also serves as the race’s Volunteer Coordinator and can be reached at volunteer@mountmarathon.com. She knows almost everyone in Seward, solves problems quickly, communicates clearly, and makes sure all volunteers have what they need to help the race be successful.

Joe Nyholm, Committee Member (Term Expires August 2025)

Joe Nyholm, of Seward, is the race safety sweep coordinator and handles Mount Marathon trail issues. He has been participating in the race every year since 2008 — some years while wearing a Gumby costume — with a top adult finish of 37th place. When not training or helping with the race, he likes to explore other mountains around town and less common ways up Mount Marathon. With Squirrels’ Inn as a starting point, he once spent 18 consecutive hours hiking up and running down Mount Marathon to be the first cover the marathon distance on Mount Marathon (26.2 miles).

Mike Heatwole, Committee Member (Term Expires August 2025)

As of 2023, Mike Heatwole of Anchorage has finished Mount Marathon 24 consecutive times; his top place was 22nd in his rookie run of 1999. Mike works on sponsorship recruitment and is the narrator for the July 3 safety meeting.

Greg Haas, Committee Member (Term Expires August 2025)

Greg Haas of Seward serves as a Mount Marathon Race Committee liaison with the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Greg also works on sponsorship recruitment for Seward organizations and his daughters Maddie and Sadie participate in the junior race. He also owns and operates Stoney Creek Brewhouse.

Matias Saari, Race Director

Matias Saari became Race Director in 2019 and also directs the Crow Pass Crossing and Kesugi Ridge Traverse. He is also president of the Alaska Mountain Runners nonprofit organization. Saari works as the event support coordinator for the Healthy Futures nonprofit in Anchorage. He is a former sportswriter at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and author of The Equinox: Alaska’s Trailblazing Marathon. Saari won the 2009 Mount Marathon Race and finished in the Top 4 seven straight times between 2008-14. He lives in Anchorage’s Bear Valley with his partner Christie Haupert and two huskies. He can be contacted at director@mountmarathon.com.