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With an active population and some of the cleanest air in the nation, Anchorage is often recognized as one of the healthiest cities in the U.S. Even in the dead of winter, you’ll spot runners, bikers and skiers braving sub-zero temperatures and sporting headlamps to see the trail as they log their daily workout. And the activity level only increases during the warmer summer months, as the land of the midnight sun welcomes participants from all 50 states and even from other countries for numerous running and triathlon events.
If you plan to visit Anchorage, make your reservation at the Westmark Anchorage Hotel and mark your calendar to participate in or simply watch one of these renowned races. At the Westmark you’ll be within walking distance from most bib pick-up sites, event expos and starting lines.
If you don’t feel up to the challenge of a race just yet, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a must visit for a casual walk with an unparalleled view of Mount Susitna and the Cook Inlet. For those who want to get a little more action, here are some running and triathlon events that will send you racing around Alaska. On your mark, get set, go!
The Alaska Heart Run is the largest footrace in the state. The event is a 5K run for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. This year’s Alaska Heart Run will be on Saturday, April 27.
Take part in the fastest growing road race in Alaska, the Twilight 12K/6K. Starting at Skinny Raven Sports the night of Friday, May 31, the race route winds through downtown Anchorage into Government Hill and follows the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail until it finishes on the Delaney Park Strip. All finishers receive a slice of pizza and pint of beer or root beer – the perfect way to celebrate!
Register as an individual or team to take part in the Eagle River Triathlon in Chugiak, just north of Anchorage. On the morning of Jun. 2, athletes will swim 500 yards, bike 20K and finish by running a 5K in this traditional Alaska event.
There’s no better time to run a race in Alaska than around summer solstice, when the sun shines longer than any other day of the year! Last year, more than two-thirds of the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon participants were visitors, and we can understand why. Perfect for athletes of all levels, you can run a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon or 5 miles on Saturday, Jun. 22. After finishing your race, have a celebratory meal at the Solstice Bar & Grill at the Westmark where you can rest your legs and enjoy some tasty food and drinks before heading off to your room for the night.
Although the race registration for this event is already closed, we can’t write a blog about Alaska races without mentioning the historic Seward Mount Marathon race. The good news is that it is well worth a day trip to Seward to witness this only-in-Alaska race, and the couple hours’ drive from Anchorage to Seward along the beautiful Seward Highway Scenic Byway flies by. The entire town is buzzing with activity and excitement around race time. Held on the Fourth of July every year, this race is not for the faint of heart. The route climbs steeply for a mile and half up Mount Marathon then descends a mile and a half back to town before racers cross the finish line.
The Big Wild Life Runs attract runners from across the globe. The world-class events include a marathon, marathon walk, marathon relay, half marathon, 5K and a 2K race for kids. The Big Wild Life Runs will be in Anchorage on Sunday, Aug. 18.