Celebrate fall at Autumn Gold with a crisp 5 mile jaunt as we head into the shorter days here in the MatSu. We have a pretty short window for color change here BUT the beginning of October is about as good as it gets. We first held this race in 2019 and couldn't have asked for better weather or views that day!
Our race is just a short drive from Palmer, Wasilla, and Anchorage. Lazy Mountain has a well established trail system that is perfect for everyone of all abilities! We've chosen to utilize the Lazy Moose Trail, connector trail, Morgan Horse Trail, and Matanuska Peak Trail (or rather, the wider path/road right next to it that most of us refer to as Mat Peak Trail...)
WHEN: October 3rd, 2020 (Saturday). We will be utilizing a staggered start line with limited runners per wave. You will select your start time when you register and MUST start at that time.
COST: $50. There will not be a price increase for this event.
Because it's 2020 and we HAVE to put it out there:
* Follow all health mandates issued by the State of Alaska.
*Be aware that the MatSu is NOT part of the Municipality of Anchorage and those mandates are not identical to what's ordered in town.
*If you are even remotely ill, or think you might be ill, or have been exposed to someone ill or traveling, please skip it. We have been fortunate that NO report of illness have followed our other events this year. Don't ruin it for everyone!
*On the off chance that you are traveling here from out of state, be aware of the ever-changing traveler restrictions for visitors. That is your responsibility to Google it (not mine.)
*Masks: recommended while waiting to start and after finishing your race.
*Social distancing: Yes. As much as possible.
*After race hanging out is, unfortunately, discouraged this year. If you do stay to cheer people in, please space/cover/isolate as appropriate.
PARKING: Parking will be at the Lazy Mountain trailhead. REMEMBER: Unless you have a valid borough parking pass (not a state parks pass) it costs $5 to park there. Please be respectful and do not block neighbors living next to the trail nor block their driveways. Should you end up having to park on the road the same goes. And pull all the way off the road so others can get through and maneuver. We have permission to uses the trails for the event but it is still open to anyone in the public who wants to be there.
We are capping registration at 80 participants this year. Firm. We really don't anticipate there being that many runners but word of mouth travels and everyone had a great race in 2019 so... that being said, there is always the chance that we will be surprised and Autumn Gold will fill up quickly. We aren't going to have a waitlist. Once those 80 are gone, they're gone. Why is it limited? Lazy Mountain gets a LOT of foot traffic and we don't want to further erode this great trail system! We also want to make sure you get the attention you deserve! And of course parking is always a challenge at our trailheads.
Please note: Once you finalize your registration, we do NOT issue refunds. We realize life happens and sometimes our best laid plans don't go as we expected. Should something out of the ordinary happen, we will work with you to either register for next year or move you to an equivalent race. Do not expect your money back. We're willing to be flexible but please don't try to take advantage of our kindness! We WILL respond to requests for reassignment, etc. We WILL NOT respond to refund requests. If something happens on our end and the race can't happen for whatever reason, we WILL be contacting you to get your registration cost back. We are a very small company and every single penny is going back into these events, it's not laying around in our bank account...
Enough about that. Except it isn't because, well, it's 2020. That being said- if our permits are cancelled for any reason we will be issuing refunds of the registration fee. Rather than defer another race, we're just going to start fresh in 2021.
Weather can be tricky in early October. We will have a secure spot for you to bring whatever gear you want to have for the race. Decide on race day what you want to wear! The trail on the same weekend in 2018 was very muddy and SLICK in spots, primarily the connector which is almost a straight hill down a couple hundred feet, and some areas on Morgan Horse. It was a little chilly but long sleeves and a vest was sufficient. In 2019, it poured rain leading up to race day and then was gorgeous, not icy at all, and covered in beautiful golden leaves. Each year is unique.
There will be toilets available at the start.
We MAY have one water station that you will cross twice at approximately mile 1.5 and 3.75 as you enter/exit Morgan Horse Trail. If you anticipate needing additional hydration at the top of the climb (which is likely), we suggest carrying your own water bottle as well.
Driving: The trailhead is off the Old Glenn Highway in Palmer. If you have never been there before and want to check it out, you turn onto Clark Wolverine Road and follow it uphill. Take a right turn at Huntley Road and follow it to the fork and take the right (downhill) to the parking area. There is a $5 fee to park there or no cost if you have a MatSu Borough parking pass.
Race begins at Lazy Mountain Trailhead parking.
Head up the Lazy Mountain trail and then it's a right onto Lazy Moose trail. This section of the course is mostly flat but you will notice an overall elevation gain of a couple hundred feet with a couple short climbs.
At about mile 0.85 there's a sharp right onto a connector trail that takes you down to Morgan Horse trail. *** this section is almost always muddy and slippery and partially obscured with tall grass. *** There is probably also another official name for this trail that I just don't know. (Does anyone know???)
At Morgan Horse, turn left and follow to Matanuska Peak trail. This short section is pretty enjoyable and has those infamous "gently rolling hills" that seem to be in so many course descriptions but ends with a nice gradual downhill slope. Keep going until you come to a wider gravel path with the aid station, then turn left.
Matanuska Peak trail, or rather the mini road next to it: Morgan Horse may have had you wondering what the fuss was about, as will the first quarter mile or so of Mat Peak. Then you gaze upward after a washout in the road and realize quickly that you're going to be climbing. A lot. And the beauty of this trail is that the first few times you climb this trail, you're not sure for how long. There are some sharp corners that lull you into thinking you're done...but you're not. The gorgeous views from up here make up for the exertion though. As you near the turn around it gets a little dicey with larger rocks in the road and some washed out areas.
Turn around is at McRoberts shack. There's probably another name for this building but that's what we're going with. We will have a volunteer here recording bib numbers. Make sure you tell him/her so you make it on record!
Turn around and head back down. The only difference is that you will NOT go back up the connector trail. Once you hit Morgan Horse, keep going until you arrive at the Lazy trailhead.
We will have course markings along the way...it will be pretty difficult to get lost.
Yes. This is MOOSE and potential BEAR country. We've also startled a fair number of grouse, rabbits, and even a few porcupine up here. Lots of people walk their dogs here. Please arrive prepared...we do suggest bear spray as a minimum. Moose: give them respect. Most of them will take off if they hear you but there are a handful up there who have grown accustomed to people and will possibly just stare at you and continue to block the trails. Just let them do this. We don't want anyone injured trying to shave some time off their PR. If at anytime you feel that the wildlife has made the area unsafe, turn around and come back. We will provide our cell numbers on race morning also...there is coverage the entire course and we want to be in the loop if there are any issues! I'm not one to suggest racing with a phone, but in this race it is encouraged.
Sorry. He still can't race with you. Feel free to take doggo before or after the race though! I've stumbled across Dixie, the original Happy Malamute, more than once on this trail with spectacular results to both our bodies. We don't want you, your dog, or another runner injured...even on accident. Please don't test us on this rule. We will tell you no at the start line and there are no refunds.
Oh my goodness...yes!!! Most days that I head out here to "test" the course, I start out feeling pretty sure of myself that I'm going to be badass and run it. Then reality hits and it becomes a power hike. Then it becomes more of a whimper and pray situation. Anyone who makes it to the turn around and back will be a finisher and that's something to be proud of! Kudos to everyone who isn't as easily vertically challenged as I am and can run the whole thing.
It would take a crazy rugged stroller to get through this course. I doubt there are any out there that would be even remotely enjoyable to use here. So yes, you could attempt a stroller, but NO. There are stairs right off the bat, a ridiculous amount of roots, a few mini boulders, and steep hills. Best to not even try.
In theory, yes. We'd like everyone done within 3 hours. In reality, no. If you've started the race and are still out there after that time headed to the finish...you'll be a finisher. We don't think it will take more than 2.5 hours even if you"aren't good" with hills. The speedier mountain goats will likely finish in under an hour.
Nope. There are a very few circumstances where you might...but plan on showing if you register. Our hope is that this will become one of the most fun races out there that everyone anticipates all year and will move mountains to arrive at the start line. Seriously.
So sweet... Yes! Please shoot us a message using the contact us link above! We love volunteers and will make it worth your time and effort.