The author starts the Mount Marathon Race on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Nicole Lawrence)

The author starts the Mount Marathon Race on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Nicole Lawrence)

Tangled Up in Blue: 360 days to go

When I first heard about the Mount Marathon Race after moving to Kenai, I was ignorant to its heavyweight status.

I hadn’t explored the state too much yet, just driving down from the airport in Anchorage to Kenai on dark and snowy roads, as I moved my life across the country. I took the Sterling Highway straight to the Kenai flats, not stopping to see the mountains along the way.

I started my new job, and celebrated my first week with a drink at The Back Door Lounge, where I heard all about the tough 5-kilometer race.

I wasn’t a runner, but a 5K didn’t sound daunting to me. I thought, “I should try it one day,” and I said, “Oh, well. Maybe I’ll sign up if it’s so special.” This was met with a round of chuckles, and a detailed explanation of the lottery system.

Over time, I drove away from the flats and saw just how quickly mountains tend to rise. I made it over to Seward and was able to hike the jeep trail on Mount Marathon until I was winded, exhausted and still so very far from the race point. I even returned on the Fourth of July, my first summer in Alaska, to watch the race, cheering as racers took their spot on Glory Rock before hitting the hard pavement.

Seeing the race for myself, I doubled down on my thoughts. “I should run this one day.”

Eventually, work took me to Seward to stay, and the Mount Marathon Race took on an even bigger meaning. It was the locals’ race, the biggest day of the year, and the highlight to a crazy summer season.

Just a few weeks before the big day, I randomly put my name into a hat during a walk downtown. And, in turn, my name was randomly drawn, securing a bib for the 2018 race in a roundabout and surprising way.

I had just a few weeks to train, and taper, and had to start by making it to the race point for the first time.

And so I did. And since then, I’ve visited the rock at the top of Mount Marathon time and time again, with different people, in different weather, and over the course of three races. The most recent was this Wednesday’s, where I pushed through mud and rain alongside 232 other women to finish the 93rd running of Seward’s Mount Marathon Race.

Now it’s Thursday morning, and I’m sitting in bed with my coffee, sore legs, a bit of a headache and a buoyant mood. I’ve shed the bundle of nerves that I clung to before the race. I always fall victim to pre-race jitters, but revel in the post-race euphoria.

And revel I shall, until next year when the days start getting longer and the mountain starts beckoning racers to toe the line on Fourth Avenue.


By KAT SORENSEN

For the Clarion


More in Sports

tease
SoHi wrestlers 4th at Grizzly Shakedown

Soldotna High School led the Kenai Peninsula by finishing fourth Saturday at… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Reagan Graves gets ready to score a goal while Camden Kovach defends Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai hockey edges Juneau in overtime

The Kenai Central hockey team defeated Juneau-Douglas 5-4 in overtime Saturday in… Continue reading

Nick Stevens of the Kenai River Brown Bears tries to squeeze by the check of Bohdan Panasenko of the Anchorage Wolverines on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears, Wolverines split series

Resilience is nothing new for Cole Dubicki and the small group of… Continue reading

Brandonn Campbell of Juneau-Douglas keeps the puck from Dylan Arno of Homer on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Hockey roundup: Houston beats SoHi for Big Lake title

The Houston hockey team defeated Soldotna 5-0 in the championship game of… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi wins, Homer ties

The Soldotna hockey team opened the Big Lake Lions Classic with a… Continue reading

Former Kenai River Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
Former Kenai River Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
Former Bears coach Murdock accepts UAA assistant job

Kevin Murdock, former head coach of the Kenai River Brown Bears, has… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Parker Lockwood attacks against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Refreshed Brown Bears ready for Wolverines

The North American Hockey League does not break for Thanksgiving, but the… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong and his dog Leia harvest a Christmas tree in December 2013 on his land on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Out of the Office: For Alaska Bush cred, head out and harvest a Christmas tree

If you don’t have your own tree lot, harvest trees on public lands.

Sun coming through snow-covered branches with cross-country ski tracks on trail. (Photo by Ashley Lutto/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: It’s more fun than walking

I’m not sure which one of us was more excited about the… Continue reading

Most Read