Race Committee and Race Director

Race Committee Duties

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 meetingsĀ  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 since the Chamber owns the event.

Karol Fink, Committee Member (Term expiress Fall 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. Fink works for the Alaska State Department of Health and divides her time between Anchorage and Seward.

Flip Foldager, Committee Member (Term expires Fall 2022)

Flip Foldager first ran the Mount Marathon in 1979 at the age of 21 and completed his 40th race in 2021. His top finishes were 3rd in 1983 and 1988 with a best time of 49:16. Foldager is the race’s media darling, organizes set-up at the mountain base, and ensures all junior racers have a helping hand, if needed, off the cliffs. He and wife Patti moved from Seward to Hope after they retired. He also serves on the MMR Mountain Safety Committee.

Amy Haddow, Committee Member (Term expires Fall 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 Fall 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 was happy to become part of the race committee in 2022; her duties will include helping coordinate the start and finish line operations.

Geri Nipp, Committee Member (Term Expires Fall 2023)

Geri Nipp of Seward serves as the Mount Marathon Race Committee’s liaison with the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Leading up to the event, she takes care of last-minute issues and is omni-present on race day, showing up downtown around 6 a.m. with coffee for the volunteers and staying all day.

Dan Marshall, Committee Member (Term Expires Fall 2022)

Dan Marshall retired in 2021 after 29 years of teaching and 26 years of coaching at Seward High School. He finished every Mount Marathon between 2001-14 with a best time of 53:18 in 2012 and a best result of 32nd place in 2011. He is organized, calm and collected. His wife Jackie and son Jacob also volunteer every year. Marshall serves on the MMR Mountain Safety Committee and coordinates the ever-important race sweep crews.

Stephanie Wright, Committee Member (Term Expires Fall 2023)

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 everyone in Seward, solves problems quickly, communicates clearly, and makes sure all volunteers have what they need to help the race be successful.

Matias Saari, Race Director

Matias Saari became Race Director in 2019; he also directs the Crow Pass Crossing and Kesugi Ridge Traverse. He is a board member and secretary for the Alaska Mountain Runners. 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, author of The Equinox: Alaska’s Trailblazing Marathon and current contributor to the Alaska Sports Report. Saari won the 2009 Mount Marathon Race and finished in the Top 4 seven straight times between 2008-14. He can be contacted at director@mountmarathon.com.