Mount Marathon Race
Seward’s Mount Marathon Race is regarded as one of the hardest short-distance mountain races in the world. Up to 30,000 people descend on Seward to watch the mayhem and celebrate Independence Day. The grueling course climbs 3,022 feet above sea level, followed by a fast and dangerous descent.
The 3.1-mile race has an average slope of 34 degrees and is 60 degrees at its steepest. The first organized race was held in 1915, making it one of the oldest foot races in the country.
According to folklore the tradition of the Mount Marathon Race began when two sourdoughs argued about the possibility of climbing and descending the mountain in less than an hour. “Impossible” one said.
To settle the argument, and the resulting wager, a race was held, with the loser to furnish drinks for the crowd. Enterprising merchants put up a suit of clothes and other attractions for the winner and proposed the race take place on a holiday – why not the 4th of July?
The optimistic sourdough lost his bet. The winning racer took one hour and two minutes.
Today, over 1,000 men, women, and juniors take on the challenge, while the city of Seward fills up with spectators. If you’re visiting from out of town, be sure to plan and reserve your trip around the holiday weekend and race day early.
To learn more about the Mount Marathon Race visit mountmarathon.com.