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Hatcher Pass Marathon

July 2, 2014 update:

We have one dedicated driver and car (Thank you Todd - we really owe you a major thank you) and four folks definitely going as per last night's meeting at Kincaid.  Brandon, Martti and Sara; are you still planning to attend?  If so, we'll have to sort out an additional car.

RUN DAY MEETING TIME: 4:45 am at the Muldoon Carrs parking lot.  Leave at 5 AM sharp.  Bib pickup at the Willow side of the race by 7 am, and 7:30 runners off shortly there-after.  9 am runners (if any) have a bit of a wait.

June 8, 2014 update:

We have seven folks who signed up hereLet's sign up if you haven't already!  The link to register is here, look for the green button on the nice big center stage photo.  Please note that registration is currently $40 ($43.25 with fees, but hey, you do get a T-shirt), but goes up to $50 on the 21st of this month.

For anyone who wants to meet in person beforehand to discuss run-day details, let's gather on the 1st of July (a Tuesday) for a 5 to 10k run and chat at the Kincaid Chalet at 7 pm.

Original Post:

The 2014 Hatcher Pass Marathon is scheduled for July 12th this year. I would love to do this run, and more-so, I think it might be a good event to organize through Trail Runners. Why? - carpooling is required, and the course is both mountainous, undeveloped and gorgeous; not quite trail in the traditional sense, but close enough. HOWEVER, the devil is in the details, so please read closely:

The race extends for slightly more than 26.2 miles over Hatcher Pass Road (aka Willow-Fishhook Road) from the Willow side, up to Independence Mine State Park, beginning at 9 am (7 am same day bib pickup). Five aid stations are provided, at miles 4.9, 9, 13, 17, 20 and 23. The course is 'relentlessly uphill' for the first 25 miles - 4000' total elevation gain, which is more climbing than is required to go from sea level to the top of Powerline Pass by 400 feet. An additional recreational runner start is offered at 7:30, for those folks who don't wish to attempt to complete the course in under 6 hours (and remember to add something like half an hour to an hour or more to your usual marathon pace to account for the extra 4000' of climbing).

So my thought is that we organize two or more cars. We proceed to get up very early (leave Anchorage around 4 or 4:30 am?), drive to Independence Mine State Park, leave one car, pile into the other car or cars and shuttle down to the beginning of the course in time for the 7 am bib pickup. Anyone who plans to run a slower pace starts at 7:30. The somewhat faster runners then start at 9 am, which should put most of us back up to the top/end of the course around 2 pm or so. The Willow-side car or cars is then retrieved by the first fastest two or three finishers, then and we all head home to Anchorage, arriving home around 5 or 6 pm or so, possibly with a stop on the way for a big dinner.  I believe a BBQ is also provided for racers.

That's lots of logistics and planning. So here's what I would recommend we do in advance to make this go smoothly:

If you are interested in going, indicate so here on Trail Runners. As soon as we have three or four people who are firmly committed to going, we will know that we have a large enough group to make the cars work, as we can all sign up for the race. Early registration is $40. While I know that folks sometimes choose to run organized events without paying, I call shame on anyone who does that for this race - this event is organized by the Willow Running Club, and they are not a wealthy organization, so your $40 goes directly to helping organize the event - plus, $40 for a marathon is a great deal! Finally, once we're all signed up, I further recommend a short meeting the week before (perhaps a 5k on the trail system) to figure out who is driving, where we are meeting, how many exactly are coming, about how fast everyone is (i.e. when are you expecting to finish), and what your start time will be (7:30 or 9:00).

That's a bit more structure than our usual show-up-and-make-it-work-same-day plan, but I think the extra planning will let a lot of us enjoy a local marathon that is otherwise difficult to do because of the lack of end-to-beginning post race transportation. More information is available here:

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  • Todd

    I just "signed up" so those who are counting on me for a ride know that I have my head in the game ;-) and will be at Muldoon Carrs at 4:45 a.m. on Sat. the 12th. For easy identification: I drive a 2004 silver Ford Escape. I will park on the south side of the parking lot (Northern Lights side) as far away from the building as I can get and straight out from the giant red CARRS sign on the building. I have room for 4 uncomfortably (3 in the backseat and one in front) or 3 comfortably. There should be room for all the gear in the back. I can't run this one but will enjoy the hanging with you awesome runners, the scenery and maybe doing a bit of running or hiking myself. I will, of course, be there at the finish to pick you up ;-)

    1 · July 6, 2014

    • Debbie

      Thank you Todd, you're awesome!!!! I'll bring coconut and some green for gass :)

      July 7, 2014

    • Todd

      With my luck you guys will all decide to slather on the coconut sunscreen in the car ;-) . But if that happens there is always the top rack!

      July 7, 2014

  • Mike M

    Did a "training" run on the powerline last week - Glen Alps to Indian out and back. Took me 5 hours with multiple stops and not pushing it much. I think the elevation gain was/is similar to Hatcher Pass, although I've never been to HP.

    June 30, 2014

    • James

      That sounds about right. I believe that powerline pass is around 3600 feet, and that Hatcher Pass is 4000'. Relentlessly uphill does not generally equal your fastest marathon time.

      July 1, 2014

  • Mariah S.

    Anyone taking the early start? I'm doing this more as an adventure then a race so I don't want to worry as much about time constraints, thought I'd see if anyone else was too :)

    June 22, 2014

  • Siobhan M.

    There is also a relay option! I am hoping to tackle this in a relay team of three. If you need additional information, I am friends with one of the Willow Race Series organizes, Yvonne, and would be happy to connect those who are interested.

    April 22, 2014

  • jerry w.

    i'll be out of state

    April 21, 2014

  • Kenton C.

    You're now the host, James, so you can edit as you wish!

    April 20, 2014

    • James

      Sure! I guess it was bound to happen sometime. Assistant organizer sounds so formal. I was able to edit the text.

      April 21, 2014

    • Kenton C.

      K, it seems to take a few weeks!

      April 21, 2014

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