Matias Saari, MMR Director

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.

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.

Reminder: MMR Registration Closes March 31

Dear Mount Marathon racers and lottery hopefuls,

This is your final reminder: priority registrations and lottery applications must be COMPLETED and paid for by 11:59 p.m. Alaska time on Tuesday March 31 at

  • CONFIRMATION — Your PayPal receipt serves as your confirmation. Once registered, you can also verify your status as “Complete” here:
  • One-Time Petitions, Earned Race Spot forms and Skip-A-Year selections — These must also be completed by 11:59 p.m. on March 31.
  • DEFERRALS — Anyone who deferred in 2019 due to air quality concerns must still register and pay for the 2020 race. A deferral did NOT automatically register you for 2020.
  • JUNIORS — All juniors were granted a deferral and should have received a refund in 2019 due to the junior cancellation. A deferral did NOT automatically register juniors for 2020. Any junior planning to race in 2020 must still register and pay the entry fee.
  • COVID-19 — The MMR Committee will meet on April 6 to discuss the next steps regarding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the race.
  • QUESTIONS — If you have researched your status and still have questions, email [email protected] (Please do not wait until 11 p.m. on March 31!).

Matias Saari, Race Director
& the Race Committee

2020 Logo Winner Announced!


YM Cho is the 2020 Mount Marathon Race logo contest winner.

Cho’s unique design of a mountain emerging from a running shoe was the winner among about 25 entries as chosen by the Mount Marathon Race Committee.

Cho is a graphic designer, illustrator and artist who divides her time between Chicago and Tucson, Ariz. She learned about the MMR logo contest four years ago.

“It’s truly an honor to win it,” Cho said.

“I actually learned about this contest by searching through Google because I’ve always been interested in participating in art/design contests,” she added.




Coronavirus Update – March 19

To the Mount Marathon Race community,

While organizers acknowledge concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, NO CHANGES to the July 4 race have been made.

  • Priority registration and lottery registration for the Mount Marathon Race is proceeding as scheduled through March 31 at
  • Anyone who hopes to participate this year MUST complete their application before the registration period closes. This includes 2019 entrants who deferred due to poor air quality and other reasons.
  • Planning for the 93rd Mount Marathon Race is underway. In April, the MMR Committee will discuss how to proceed and will make decisions once it has a clearer understanding of the situation.
  • Any decisions will be promptly shared through multiple means of communication.


Matias Saari, Mount Marathon Race Director
& the MMR Committee