Mount Marathon Race moved to July 7

The 93rd Mount Marathon Race has been rescheduled to Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

Citing safety concerns and the challenge of mitigating risk among spectators and participants during a pandemic, the Mount Marathon Race Committee voted to shift the race from the 4th of July holiday weekend to the middle of the subsequent week.

“The crowds will be much smaller on a Wednesday and that is important for holding a race as popular as Mount Marathon during COVID-19,” race director Matias Saari said.

Mount Marathon is traditionally held on the 4th of July and draws about 900 racers and many thousands of spectators. Like most large events in 2020, the race was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, its first cancellation since 1942.

This year’s date change is not unprecedented: in 1927 the race was moved to Sunday, July 2 at the request of visitors who wanted to watch but couldn’t stay beyond the weekend.

The race committee’s decision means that planning for the 93rd running will continue, but it does not guarantee the race will actually be held. A final decision on the race status will be announced by June 4 after careful consideration of the pandemic’s situation and review of local, state and national health mandates and recommendations.

The race plan will include extensive COVID-19 mitigation.

“Our mission is to make the event as safe as possible for racers, volunteers, officials, sponsors, spectators and the residents of Seward,” Saari said.

On Feb. 5, the race committee made several other impactful decisions:

  • Between March 1-15, those on the 2020 roster must reconfirm their intent to participate in 2021, defer to 2022 or decline their spot.
  • For adults seeking entry in 2021, men’s and women’s lotteries will NOT be held. Few spots were expected to be available and the committee cited the need to simplify the race plan for 2021. Lottery odds are expected to improve due to extra spots in 2022.
  • For youth seeking entry in 2021, a junior race lottery will be held with applications accepted from March 1-15. Forty-four juniors are aging in to the adult races in 2021, making those spots available in a junior lottery.
  • Petitions for a one-year entry in 2021 will be accepted from March 16-31.
  • An online auction is planned for June (dates to be determined) for 10 men’s and 10 women’s spots. No in-person auction the night before the race will be conducted.
  • The updated 2021 roster will be announced in mid-April.
Christy Marvin descends in 2019. Photo by Joel Krahn

The oldest mountain race in the U.S. has been called the “toughest 5K on the planet” by Outside magazine. It goes steeply up 3,000 feet on Mount Marathon and plummets back to downtown Seward, encountering many obstacles and dangers along the way.

The current women’s roster includes past champions Christy Marvin, Hannah LaFleur, and Olympian Jessica Yeaton along with several accomplished mountain runners from the Lower 48 and Canada.

The men’s roster includes 2019 champion Max King from Oregon, race record holder David Norris of Anchorage, 2017 champion and Olympic skier Scott Patterson, professional runner Zach Miller from Pennsylvania, Iditarod dog mushing legend Dallas Seavey and Seward’s Fred Moore, 81, who returns for his 51st consecutive race.

The Mount Marathon Race is owned by the Seward Chamber of Commerce and organized by the Mount Marathon Race Committee.

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