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

From left, Dain Douthit, Silas Thibodeau, Roman Dunham, Cody Good and Jackson Anding participate in a practice League of Legends match on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022 at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Peninsula esports teams ready for state championships

Players contend with changing games, increased pressure, rival rematches

Tela O’Donnell-Bacher and Neldon Gardner hold their plaques after being inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame following a duel wrestling meet on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
A celebration of Kenai Peninsula wrestling

Two storied members of local wrestling community inducted into National Wrestling Hall of Fame

A great horned owl sits in a tree. (USFWS/Colin Canterbury)
Refuge Notebook: Finding perfection in the imperfect

The new snow brought our refuge manager outside for a morning walk

File
Out of the Office: On Andrews’ legacy

I thought it would be appropriate to rerun my column, originally published on June 5, 2001

Skiers from Kenai, Seward and Soldotna start the girls race during the Turkey Trot on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna, Alaska.
Kenai boys, SoHi girls clock top finishes at Turkey Trot ski meet

Kenai boys took the top four finishes of the night

Soldotna’s Jacob Strausbaugh tries to turn Palmer’s Kael Salisbury during the 112-pound final at the Lancer Smith Memorial wrestling tournament Saturday, Nov. 19, in Wasilla. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna boys roll to Lancer Smith crown

The Soldotna boys wrestling team won the team title Saturday at the… Continue reading

The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a third-period goal Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears get 2-game sweep of Wolverines

The Kenai River Brown Bears completed a two-game sweep of the Anchorage… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: Kenai tops Kodiak, Chugiak stops SoHi

The Kenai Central hockey team moved to 2-0 in the Railbelt Conference… Continue reading

tease
Brown Bears come back to beat Wolverines

The Kenai River Brown Bears defeated the Anchorage Wolverines 4-2 on Friday… Continue reading

Most Read