This photo by Josiah Mackenzie is used under Creative Commons License
Shel Silverstein’s children’s book “The Missing Piece” tells the story of an incomplete-circle-shaped character who leisurely rolls around looking for his missing piece that will ultimately make him a complete and perfect circle. When he finally finds the piece that fits he rolls so fast he can no longer stop and smell the flowers, talk to the butterfly or bask in the sun. The world just flashes by in a frenzy of shapes and colors.
Motorized transportation is certainly a necessary vehicle for exploring a place, especially one as expansive and spread out as Alaska. But we tend to agree with the moral of Silverstein’s story; it’s when you take your time exploring that you are really able to take in your surrounding – the smells, the colors, the textures. Hiking is a great way to experience Alaska, but so is participating in one (or several) of Alaska’s many annual foot races, for walkers and runners alike. The options are endless and can all be found here. Some of our favorite races take place in close proximity to our properties so you don’t have to venture far to relax from a fun and active day.
April 26 – Alaska Heart Run in Anchorage – One of the state’s largest races, this 5k benefitting the American Heart Association. Runners and walkers of all ages and skill levels can pick their own pace and even opt for the shorter 3K-route. The race takes place on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and offers informational booths and fun giveaways.
May 17 – Juneau Spring Tide Scramble – Enjoy these 3- and 7-mile down-and-dirty races that travel through the water and mud of Gastineau Channel, Mendenhall State Game Wetlands and Fish Creek Trail in and around the state’s capital city.
June 7 – Alaska Run for Women in Anchorage – This pink-themed race raises funds for breast cancer awareness and women’s general health. Water stations along the way are sponsored by different businesses and organizations and feature special treats for runners like music, inspirational signage and goodies.
June 7 – Fairbanks Color Run –Color Runs have been a growing trend around the U.S. and Canada since 2012. Alaska had its first Color Run last year in Anchorage, and Fairbanks was quick to follow suit with its upcoming debut event. Be prepared for a colorful good time, getting doused from head to toe as you cross each kilometer on your way to the finish line.
June 14 – Skagway Marathon – Not the easiest marathon out there by any means but certainly one of the most scenically rewarding! The route climbs over hills as it follows the coastline of this Southeast Alaska destination, through a glacially-carved valley and over rivers and bridges. This run will leave you gasping in awe, rather than just trying to catch your breath.
Sept. 5-6 – Klondike Road Relay –This relay race From Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon, attracts more than 160 teams of runners from both sides of the border who compete over 176.5 kilometers broken into 10 legs of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. Runners trace the trail of the Gold Rush stampeders and end the race on the banks of the Yukon River. The relay is run on paved highway throughout the night and into the next day.
July 19 – Alpine Adventure Run in Sitka – This race offers a 7-mile trail run up Gavan Hill in one of the most spectacular settings you can imagine. Sitka is a small fishing community is Southeast Alaska, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glaciers and lush forests. This race requires a strong level of fitness, as it is quite strenuous. All efforts will be rewarded with a great sense of accomplishment and community potluck at the bottom of the trail.