ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- May 7, 2009 -- Alaska is gearing up for the 35th annual Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon and Half Marathon, which take place Saturday, June 20, 2009. Runners from around the world will travel to Anchorage, Alaska, to run the largest marathon in the state, in the largest state in the union, on nearly the longest day of the year. Summer Solstice is a great time to be in Anchorage. With more than 19 hours of daylight and a plethora of activities, runners, their friends and family will find plenty to do during their stay.
Last year's race brought runners and walkers from 12 countries, and 48 states. Team in Training® (TNT), an athletic fund-raising group organized through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, will also sponsor a group to this year's marathon. A past runner with the TNT group, Doug Beeferman, of Boston, Mass., was delighted with the strong contingent of fans and spectators along the scenic trail. He remembers one such encourager at mile 20 when he began to lose steam. Dressed in Elizabethan garb, the well-meaning volunteer called out to him, "Thy steps flag. Seek succor at the rest stop just beyond yonder hill. Just six wee miles left!"
Certified by the USATF and a Boston Marathon qualifier, the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon course is fast and flat. It provides an excellent opportunity for a personal best record. The course is also one of the most beautiful. From the majestic Chugach Mountain Range flanking the east side of the Anchorage Bowl, to the sweeping views of Cook Inlet along the award-winning Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, runners are in for a treat as the temperate climate and well marked, strongly supported race unfolds.
The Marathon, Marathon Walk, and Marathon Relay
Most of the race is run on paved streets and trails with some stretches of gravel trail. In 2008, Anchorage resident and former University of Alaska Anchorage runner Jerome Ross, 32, won the men's division of the marathon in 2:36:38. Annie Thiessen, 37, of Tacoma, Wash., took the women's field in her Mayor's Marathon debut with a time of 3:01:34.
The Half Marathon
The half marathon is an out and back course run entirely on paved trail. In 2008, 29 year-old Anchorage resident Mike Wisniewski took first place in the men’s division of the half marathon with a time of 1:11:46. Anchorage resident Gretchen Flora, 37, was the first female finisher in 1:27:43.
The five-miler is actually 5.6 miles. Runners start with the half marathon, then veer off and loop back along the Coastal Trail to the shared finish.
The Youth Cup
Young runner ages seven to 14 run 1.7 miles around scenic Westchester Lagoon and shares a start and fish line with the half marathon and five miler events.
Volunteers and Spectators
Non-runners can take part in the fun as well. There are many volunteer opportunities available from manning water stations and first aid tents to removing timing chips and assisting runners at the finish. The course is also extremely spectator friendly. There are countless opportunities to see runners in action as well as take in Anchorage's amazing sights.
Online and mail-in registration closes June 17, 2009. For more information or to register for the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon and Half Marathon visit www.mayorsmarathon.com.
For more information about running events in Anchorage or to start planning a Big Wild Life™ Anchorage adventure, explore www.anchorage.net.
The Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (ACVB) mission is to attract and serve visitors to the Municipality of Anchorage as a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). ACVB’s marketing functions are funded by one-third of the bed tax collected by lodging associations. One-third goes to the Municipality's general fund, a contribution established in 1978, and one-third to service the bond debt and operations of the Anchorage Convention Centers. ACVB receives no state or federal funds. Explore www.Anchorage.net for more information.