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Seward's Mount Marathon Race 2023

One of the toughest 5K races on the planet


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The Seward's Mount Marathon Race is an annual event that happens every 4th of July in Seward, Alaska. It is known for quite a strenuous and challenging course leading to the top of Mount Marathon, which is 2,974 feet (906 m) high. The start line is located in downtown, at 4th and Adams. The race finishes almost at the same spot, just a block south. The total distance of the race is only about 3.1 mi (5 km), but it is not going to be easy as the trail is muddy and rocky. Runners have suffered numerous injuries here before.

All participants are required to be in good shape and have a mountain running experience. Helmets, gloves, and other protective gear are recommended. Leading racers usually get to Mount Marathon top in about 40 minutes, and reach the finish from there in 15 minutes. The race course includes steep inclines, slippery loose rock, and shale. Racers must be ready to get themselves down the mountain even if injured since assistance is not guaranteed. The total elevation gain of the course is 3,022 feet (921 m).

The Seward's Mount Marathon Race is limited to 350 men, 350 women, and 200 juniors every year. The participants are selected by a lottery.

The first race in Seward took place around in early 20th century—there is no specific date. According to a local legend, it was a bar bet. Mt. Marathon run debuted as an organized event in 1915, which makes it the second oldest foot race in the U.S.

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