This event already has several dedicated volunteers and we would LOVE to continue to count on their support! That being said, additional volunteers are always needed... we have a list of tasks and needs.
Most specifically, we really REALLY REEEAAALLLYY want a few more manned aid stations out there. As a previous runner, I was terrified that curious tourists would take off with the precious Gatorade before I got to it. We don't want that to happen to anyone!
All volunteers will earn whatever race bling we have for this year PLUS free entry into the race of their choosing for 2021 and 2022. We can always use the help of any teams/youth groups/do-gooders out there with a cause (we aren't opposed to a charitable contribution to guarantee happy runners!)
If you have been a volunteer in the past or are thinking about getting some race karma headed your way, click on the support or contact us tabs above and shoot us a message.
Lets make this and EVEN MORE amazing event with community support!!!
A few words about the 2021 race. In a nutshell... we know what we WANT the race to look like but as 2020 taught us, we don't KNOW what the race will have to look like. Once you are registered, or as you keep checking back through the year waiting to register, be aware that things may change quickly. I will attempt to update it here as best I can, but will always make sure registered runners are notified in writing of any changes via email. MAKE SURE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IS CORRECT ON ULTRASIGNUP BEFORE REGISTERING FOR THIS RACE PLEASE.
When: Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 0700.
What and where: The Hatcher Pass Marathon and Relay is a low-key, uphill marathon starting in beautiful Willow, Alaska. The route follows Willow Fishhook Road (aka Hatcher Pass Rd) all the way over the summit, and finishes at the Independence Mine State Historical Park "Bowl" parking area.
Cost: Individual runners
$60 through 12/31/2020
$80 through 4/30/2021
$100 through 7/9/2021
$120 through 12/31/2020
$160 through 4/30/2021
$200 through 7/9/2021
We have learned that local runners tend to wait until the last week or two to sign up... This makes it REALLY difficult to ensure that we have enough of the correct sizes on hand for everyone. We will try our best to make everyone happy BUT be aware that registering after 6/10 makes it dicey you will get the correct size. Be aware. Register early.
Race limit : We are capping at total of 150 participants. State park regulations limit the total number of participants to help keep this area from becoming too congested. These limits have existed in the past but we are just now starting to actually get enough registrations to actually be near the max! For reference, we were within 20 individuals of this limit in 2019 (before deferrals) as well as 2020 ( we actually would have had registration cut off if we hadn't had deferrals). This may (or may not) impact participants planning to register on race day. We will determine for sure as the race gets nearer. We DO HAVE a lot of deferred runners and relay teams with priority for the 2021 race due to COVID precautions in 2020. We will monitor and keep this page (and Facebook) updated as needed. If you plan to run...go ahead and register early! If you deferred in 2020, we will send you an email with a registration code for 2021. Please do not share codes, we know who should and should not have them. If you somehow do not receive your code, please let us know!
Regarding waitlisting: we are venturing into this for 2021. It should prove interesting so bear with us. In a nutshell, UltraSignup knows when our registration limit is reached. It will not allow you to register once we are there but it will allow you to register for the waitlist. As people drop prior to the event and spots open, their openings will be offered in order of placement on the waitlist. I guarantee you that by mid June, we will be sold out and utilizing the list.
Race vibe: as mentioned above... LOW KEY. There are not bands on course (unless musicians magically appear.) There are not hundreds of spectators. There is not a pre-race show or airplane jumps or any of that. There IS amazing camaraderie and enthusiastic friends and family of other runners out there along with VERY curious tourists to Hatcher Pass! And did we mention amazing course volunteers???
The course is very mountainous, and goes relentlessly uphill for 25 miles; the last mile includes a cramp-inducing downhill, and then one last uphill grunt to the finish line. Significant elevation gain! Approximately 20 miles is on gravel road, the rest on pavement (at the beginning of the course). The course is slightly longer than 26.2 - it is not a certified marathon course.
Approximate mileage per relay leg:
First leg: 9 miles (second most strenuous section)
Second Leg: 8 miles
Third Leg: 9.2 miles (most strenuous section)
AID STATIONS/RELAY LEGS
Aid stations will be located near the following mile markers: 4.5, 9 (relay exchange), 13, 17 (relay exchange), 20, and 23 with additional aid stations if there are more volunteers. ***manned aid stations ALL depend on volunteer presence....any/all have the potential to become self serve. Luckily we are blessed with AMAZING volunteer support at this race thus far!!!*** Also be aware that these distances are subject to change if there are campers in our usual exchange station pullouts :)
ROAD CONSTRUCTION. Make sure to check for any road construction at http://alaskanavigator.org/
Driving Directions to Start
The start line is generally at the downed Willow Creek bridge, near the intersection of Willow Fishhook Rd and Shirley Towne Drive. From Anchorage, take the Glenn Highway (AK-1) north to the George Parks Highway (AK-3) toward Willow. At approx. mile 71.8 of the Parks Highway, take a RIGHT onto Willow Fishhook Rd (aka Hatcher Pass Rd). Go 5.5 miles on Willow Fishhook Rd (approx. mile marker 43.25 of Willow Fishhook Rd) and then take a LEFT onto Shirley Towne Drive; go about 0.2 miles and you will have arrived. Yes, it is at the downed bridge.
*See Google maps here
*There will be signage at the turnoff from Parks Highway onto Willow Fishhook Rd, and at the Shirley Towne Drive turnoff.
*Parking is limited at the start, so please carpool if at all possible. Cars may be left at the start to retrieve when you finish. If you don't have a ride back to your car from the finish, let us know so we can arrange a ride for you. Please do NOT park on Willow Fishhook.
Having a support friend or family member to drive your car to the finish would be ideal.
*There will be several port-o-potties at the start line which should be stocked with paper and hand sanitizer, but one can never be too prepared. We are attempting to have 2 additional stops placed on course near mile 10 and 17, but no guarantees.
RACE DAY SCHEDULE (July 10, 2020)
Bib Pickup and Day-of-race sign-up: 0530-0645
Race day sign-up & bib pickup starts at 530 am.
Please bring cash only for day-of-race sign-up.
Drop Bags and post-race food...
Feel free to bring a drop bag for the finish line. No huge duffels please but just about anything else you feel you might need is welcome. Also feel free to bring bags for either of the exchange stations. We always recommend warm clothes for the finish line (as 2020 participants can attest were sorely needed!)
If you want to bring any food to share after the race, you can drop this off at the start as well.
There will be announcements for all runners approximately 10 minutes before race start.
Start time is 0700 for ALL racers in 2021!
Yes, this is new this year. It's become pretty clear that it is most likely (but not guaranteed) to be HOT conditions for this race. OK, or really rainy. The early start option is the best bet for the safety of our racers. If you aren't a speedster, do not despair! We will not close up shop on you and are out there until the final runner crosses the line! We realize this may make for a more lonely experience for the back of the packers and we apologize for that.
Finish line: There will be food at the finish that will be determined as we get closer to race day. Who knows what we can actually have available in 2021! PLEASE NOTE: There is a $5 parking fee at the finish line if you do not have an Alaska State Parks permit sticker.
Awards: Awards will be at noon. Awards for top-3 men, top-3 women, and top-3 relay teams.
We do not have awards broken into age categories.
Getting back to your car: There are always plenty of runners and volunteers willing to give someone a ride back down the mountain. If you need a ride, let us know in advance, or let us know when you finish the race. We anticipate having a van again in 2021 BUT, as it is a 2 hour round trip, we will likely only have 1 or 2 trips total back to the start. If you need a ride, PLEASE come prepared to hang out for a while, possibly several hours. Let's be honest...it WILL be quite a while!
We are always in need of volunteers, and couldn't do it without you! If you would like to host an aid station or help with the finish line or be in-vehicle on-course support, please use the Contact Us form.
Please keep in mind that this race is organized by directors with full-time jobs and their own races to train for. We promise to do our best to provide all runners with a great racing experience. There is absolutely no reason to be stressed out over this race OR to try and stress us out about it either!
The race is available as a 2- or 3-person relay. Since relay teams sign up as a group, and not individually, this option gives you more flexibility in case you cannot find a third team member, or if one person has to drop out before the race. We will NOT have a separate 2-person relay team division, however. We ask that you exchange at the designated relay exchange zones, but we also won't be policing this. Our biggest goal is that runners safely make it to the finish line and we are aware that may mean race day changes. Our biggest concern regarding relay teams is that every step of the course is completed ON FOOT by one runner from the team. (i.e.: no car-hopping down the course!)
Approximate mileage per relay leg:
First leg: 9 miles
Second Leg: 8 miles
Third Leg: 9.2 miles
The third leg is the most strenuous.
Relay exchanges will be obvious. The first relay exchange has limited parking. Look to aid station volunteers to direct parking. Please drop off your exchange runner and move farther down the road to avoid congestion. Waiting relay runners should be positioned at the exchange site, slap hands and then start their leg.
DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC FOLLOWING YOUR RELAY RUNNER. Do not drive along them and keep other vehicles from passing you!!!! If we happen to see this happen and not be corrected, yes, your team might be disqualified!!! This would really suck for all of us. It is perfectly acceptable to drive to the next pull off and wait there to cheer them on and repeat all along the course.... roadways MUST be kept clear!!!! (Spoken by irritated directors who were unable to pass to get to the finish line by 2 vehicles following 1 team...)
One more note regarding relay teams: We are unable to publish relay results on our registration site. I know... We were going to change companies BUT out of honor and respect for the long history of this race, we are not switching as planned. We will be adding in a results section on this website with results for relay teams. It's a work in progress.. We will likely add relay members into final results with their team name as part of their last name so everyone is listed. Yes, we are aware this will "mess up" your UltraSignup score but I am honestly more interested in runners getting recognition for being there! Period.
Aid stations will be located at the following mile markers: 4.5, 9 (relay exchange), 13, 17 (relay exchange), 20, and 23. Exact mileage may vary depending on other activities in progress (campers, etc.). The aid stations will have water, gatorade, and other food TBD. We require that all runners carry additional liquids and calories according to their needs. Volunteers will close up the aid stations as the final runners leave them.
We will likely be staying with tank tops in 2021. They're just so appropriate for a July race.
*Parking is available but limited at all locations; i.e. start, exchange zones & finish. Carpooling is highly encouraged.
*If you do not have an Alaska State Parks parking sticker, there is a $5 fee to park at the finish line at the Independence Mine State Historical Park "bowl" parking area.
*If you are crewing for a runner or driving for a relay team, or even just spectating, please use caution when pulling off of and back onto the roadway; be aware of other vehicles traveling at high speeds, off road-vehicles, and other runners.
Timing will be provided by: Potentially synchronized wristwatches, iPhone clock, sundial, or stopwatch. We will not provide individual leg times for relay team members (although please feel free to do so on your own).
If for any reason you decide to drop out of the race (or, you signed in, picked up your bib, but then get second thoughts on this jaunt and decide to spend your day elsewhere), please let an official (any of the people with stop watches and clipboards) know, and present your bib number for identification. We do not wish having to go on a head hunt for missing runners at the end of a long day on the course. Best bet is to let one of us know at the finish line so make sure your ride stops up there with you.
Please be courteous to other runners, State Park employees, and tourists on the trail. And, make sure to thank a volunteer!
And a note to read before you complete your registration:
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. If we have to cancel for any reason in 2021, we will issue registration fee refunds and just start over fresh in 2022.
As much as we love our dogs, no dogs are allowed to run with you on the course. We shudder to think about what might have happened to any poor doggos out there in 2019 with the heat! Also, our insurance says no.
Do not litter! You may leave your trash at the aid stations, but don't expect volunteers to pick up after you along the race course. There is a secret trash patrol squad who will not be afraid to publicly shame any offenders.
You will be required to sign a race waiver when you sign up on ultrasignup.com.
Potential hazards and inconveniences of the race include, but are not limited to: Traffic (NO road closures during race), serious dust in dry weather, yucky muck in wet weather, brutal exposure to the elements due to high elevation, and/or falling flat on your face due to cramping in the last mile of the race. Also: rampant sunburn!
Traffic generally picks up as the day progresses. Expect 4-wheelers as well as off-road vehicles. Please be courteous. Many of these people are camping there overnight and may not be aware of the race. Unfortunately, there are a fair number of speedsters out there who don't slow down appropriately so make sure you keep an eye out and always run facing traffic.
Consider a cap, or visor, and sunscreen if it's nice out, and a beanie hat, gloves, and windbreaker if it's foul.
Wildlife encounters have been reported, so be aware that you'll be running through bear country.
In exchange for all this you'll get stunning scenery, a major runner's high, and a cool t-shirt or other gear!