Mount Marathon, Race Point

Seward, Alaska

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1 Review
5 out of 5
In 1915, a bet in Seward started a race up Mount Marathon that is still repeated every Fourth of July. Back then, there was no Seward Highway, no city of Anchorage, and railroad construction was just beginning, but there was a Mount Marathon race. The runners in this mountain marathon start from the town center near sea level, climb to Race Point (elevation 3,022 feet on the southeast ridge of Marathon Mountain), and return. The record is 43 minutes, 11 seconds, set in 1981 by Bill Spencer. Independence Day is the most exciting time to make the climb, whether you are in the race or not, but it is a good hike anytime during the summer. A hikers’ trail and the runners’ trail climb toward Race Point, although the hikers’ trail has easier destinations as well. The hikers’ trail is steep, the runners’ trail steeper. Fortunately, both provide spectacular views of Resurrection Bay, giving a ready excuse to pause. You may choose to go up the hikers’ trail and down the runners’ trail; the two lower ends are within easy walking distance.
55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska

DESCRIPTION FROM:

55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska

by Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr. (The Mountaineers Books)

In 1915, a bet in Seward started a race up Mount Marathon that is still repeated every Fourth of July. Back then, there was no Seward Highway, no city of Anchorage, and railroad construction was just beginning, but there was a Mount Marathon race. The runners in this mountain marathon start from the town center near sea level, climb to Race Point (elevation 3,022 feet on the southeast ridge of Marathon Mountain), and return. The record is 43 minutes, 11 seconds, set in 1981 by Bill Spencer. Independence Day is the most exciting time to make the climb, whether you are in the race or not, but it is a good hike anytime during the summer.

A hikers’ trail and the runners’ trail climb toward Race Point, although the hikers’ trail has easier destinations as well. The hikers’ trail is steep, the runners’ trail steeper. Fortunately, both provide spectacular views of Resurrection Bay, giving a ready excuse to pause. You may choose to go up the hikers’ trail and down the runners’ trail; the two lower ends are within easy walking distance.

©  Helen D. Nienhueser & John Wolfe Jr./The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Seward
Distance: 4
Elevation Gain: 2,800 feet
Trail Type: Several options
Duration: 43 minutes - 7 hours
Season: May-Oct.
Local Contacts: City of Seward and Alaska Division of Mining, Land, & Water
Local Maps: USGS Seward A7 SW
Driving Directions: Directions to Mount Marathon, Race Point

Recent Trail Reviews

8/2/2011
0

amazing hike! we lucked out and got a clear day in Seward. I never thought the hike would have turned out to be so great. the back bowl is a great place for lunch



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May 2018