Valley Thaw Out Races 5k, 10k and Half Marathon : 2020

News/ Announcements

April 4, 2020

Valley Thaw Out Races

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Machetanz Elementary

+ Event Details

April 4, 2020

Valley Thaw Out Races

Registration will open in fall 2019.  Keep an eye on Facebook for updates.

10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Machetanz Elementary

Basic Information

This is an out and back course that offers an option for everyone and our goal is that everyone have FUN.  Generous time limits and walking is most definitely welcome!  We just want lots of smiling faces out there :)


All three courses share the same start and finish line at Machetanz Elementary. There will be separate turn around points for the 5k and 10k runners.  Half marathoners will continue along the course and branch off into the Hay Flats and Rabbit Slough before returning along the same route.... don't worry!  There will be guidance for making the tricky turns.


Half marathoners will have the added benefit of hitting the 5k and 10k aid stations PLUS one big station that you'll encounter several times.  Goodies and snacks for all!  



Start times:

Half Marathon starts at 10:00 am.

10k starts at 10:45 am.

5k starts at 11:00 am.

These start times are staggered so that nobody feels like they're out there all alone! 


Costs:

5k is $35 through 2/28/20, then $40

10k is $40 through 2/29/20, then $45

Half marathon is $50 through 2/28, then $60

Race day registration will be CASH ONLY.  There also won't be a guarantee on shirt or shirt size availability BUT we will do everything we can to try and get you hooked up with all the gear!  


Should you choose to go up in distance after you register, please let us know as soon as you're sure.  You will need to pay the difference in registration cost at bib pickup and it will be based on the race day registration rates.


If you are "pretty sure" you're going to participate, go ahead and get it done before that price increase.  Also: anyone that ran in 2019 knows we strive for a personal touch.  Early registration helps make sure that happens :)


Day of race schedule:

We will try very hard to start at the times listed above.

We will present awards starting at 12:30 and you must still be present to collect your award.  Following the awards it would be courteous to stay and help cheer your fellow runners into the finish line!  We will likely also have random drawings for prizes.  You must also be present for those.  We will not meet up or mail awards.


This race will be timed in a method yet to be determined!  Much depends on how many participants register. Timing for the 2019 race was paper and stopwatch and was sufficient for the 60 participants who ran.  We anticipate that 2020 will have a few more people so we are probably going to look into other methods but ultimately...it's to be determined.


If you cannot participate once you register...please do NOT give your bib to a friend.  We need correct information for both runner safety and our records...plus, it's just tacky. 


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.

  

Weather: In true MatSu form, we went through multiple weather conditions in 2019.  It started out in the high 30s and was somewhat sunny and blue.  Then the wind set in and by the end it was COLD.  We also had some minor sprinkles right as we were wrapping up.  We suggest having a variety of clothing options in your car so you have some choices.


General vibe:  We loved how upbeat everyone was this year!  We have to say we admire how welcoming our runners were to everyone out there.  The level of support amongst everyone was THROUGH THE ROOF!  We hope it will only multiply in 2020.


Volunteers

We can use your help!

We want this to be the best darn small event out there!  We are looking for volunteers to help out at aid stations as well as help at traffic crossings and with general set up.


All volunteers will receive (at a minimum) a fancy race shirt.  It will be worth your while!  In 2019 we offered free race registrations to any of our events for the next year... we anticipate that being a standing offer for 2020.  We have several happy runners scheduled for Archangel Marathon and Hatcher Pass Marathon this year because they were amazing and showed up!


We can ALWAYS put youth groups/sports teams/child do-gooders to work as well.  We aren't opposed to helping support these groups with their needs- travel, uniforms and all the other needs add up!


Use the support or contact us tabs above to start negotiations :)


PS-  If you reach out to volunteer please make sure to pencil us in AND show up on race day.  Things go much smoother when people we expect to see actually show up.  We know life happens but we're counting on you :)

Course Description

A little hilly.

But not nearly as hilly as Hatcher Pass!  (if you're into that, check out our event link above.)  Trust us about the hills.  We think many people in 2019 were surprised that while not steep, they seem to stretch on forever.  Most people think of the Flats as the area to endure on the commute to Anchorage, but it's really a beautiful place to see on foot.


As mentioned above, all three races start at Machetanz Elementary and work their way towards the highway and Fireweed Road (i.e.: to the round about).  There's and initial uphill as you leave the school followed by a gentle sweeping downhill that flattens out and crosses over Wasilla Creek.  From here you'll move onto the paved bike path.  Just as the course starts to flatten out over the train tracks, those lucky 5k'ers get to head back after refreshing at the aid station.  Everyone else...continue.


The course then continues a long but gradual climb to the round-about at Trunk and Fireweed.  PLEASE WATCH FOR TRAFFIC and follow flagger or written instructions here!  You'll make an immediate right onto Fireweed (down to the Flats) and have another longer, gentle downhill.  Near the bottom of this by Matanuska Road will be the 10k turn around and aid station.  Now you 10k'ers turn back and follow the same course back to the school.


Half marathoners:  now your course gets interesting and maybe a little tricky.  Follow the signs and remember that everything loops around exactly and all will be well.  Volunteers will also be out there to make sure you're headed the right way.


So-  you'll continue across the train tracks and take a right along Nelson Road at the aid station (just past the log home.)  It's no longer a thoroughfare so you're running right into moose, duck, and swan territory.  Go about 3/4 mile down to the turn around cone and head back to the aid station.  We will make that cone as gaudy as possible in 2020!  When you get back to the intersection, take a right and head towards Rabbit Slough and turn into the access road.  The gate was closed to vehicle traffic in 2019 a few weeks before the race.  If it is closed in 2020 we will still go around on foot like we did this year. Follow it 1/2 mile to the parking lot and turn around at the cone. Everything from this point is in reverse from here on out!  Don't forget the Nelson Road leg on the return trip- you MUST go down that segment twice!  


For everyone:  Remember those nice downhills you enjoyed on the way out?  Now they're up...


Our course map is below and shows the location of the start and finish, aid stations and turn arounds.  A few locations are off just a bit- the 5k aid station is at the railroad tracks and the 10k station is a touch farther down the road from the lake.  We also will NOT have a toilet on course.  Sorry.  Logistics at play here.  Pay particular attention to the out and back sections on the half marathon course.  We will point you in the right directions.  

Safety

This course follows borough and state roads as well as multi-use paths.  We ask that ALL participants follow basic safety guidelines and obey all instructions given by race officials and volunteers.  First and foremost, we want everyone to be safe!


*Always run facing traffic.  You can see them and hopefully they see you!

*Always follow directional signage.  It's there for a reason.

*Look both ways before crossing, even with a flagger directing you.  

*If you're in doubt if it's safe to cross or if a driver is acting erratically, play it safe.  Move away from the vehicle and wait for them to leave the area. 

*Immediately report any safety concerns to volunteers or race officials on course.  Feel free to text us also!


The Alaska Railroad crosses this course and it is an active track.  The half marathon will cross the track twice.  There will be a flagger  positioned at the track...not to stop the train but to stop you!  Absolutely, under no circumstances, is any runner to cross the tracks when directed to stop or if the arms are down.  It will be an immediate disqualification and ban from any other Happy Malamute event!

Feel free to admire the train while you're stopped or when you're on the overpass over the train.  


We should miss any scheduled train encounters.  On the off chance that the schedule changes or there is a crossing, we will adjust your time for the amount of time spent waiting for the train to pass through.  (Our volunteer will write down numbers and time spent waiting and then we will adjust.)  We know some of them are long and take a while!


The Trunk/Fireweed roundabout is another area of increased caution.  We all know there are still some folks out there who just don't understand them!  Keep your eyes open and pay attention.   Our course should avoid the majority of traffic since runners in the 10k and half marathon will take the offshoot onto Fireweed and avoid the Anchorage bound traffic.  


Always stay on sidewalks and paths where available.  If someone in a yellow safety vest gives you instructions they are likely with the race and should be followed.


Lastly: moose and the potentially angry swan.  Moose have the right of way.  Don't taunt them.  Just calmly move away and let them do their moose things.  Expectant mothers *should not* have moved onto the Flats yet, but they ARE about a month away from delivery so could very well be hanging in the area.  There are also a lot of swans in the marshes and streams here.  While I've never personally heard of a mid-race swan attack, I know stranger things have happened.  They're large birds.  Any of us who were chased by geese as children know they can do some damage.  Give them space and don't taunt them either.



image27

Questions and Answers

Can my dog run with me?

Sorry, but no.  Love the doggos and will eventually come up with a way to get some races in that they can partake in as well....but for now, no.  Please don't test us on this one.  Remember, your registration is non-refundable and it'd be a bummer to get pulled from the start line or excluded from results over this.  We WILL ask you to step away from the start if you show up to run with your furry friend.


How about my kids?

Sure!  If they're in a stroller feel free to bring them along and hold on for the downhills!  If they're on foot they absolutely can as well!  Just make they're registered also :)  We know the little ones don't always "get" just how long 5k is so that's why there is plenty of time for sightseeing along the course.  


Is there swag?

Absolutely!  Anticipating a pretty sweet medal for all participants, a shirt, and a reusable grocery type tote plus maybe a few other surprises in there.  We have participated in races that didn't really reward everyone before- we don't want to be THOSE type of directors!


I don't run.  I walk.  Am I REALLY welcome???

YES, yes, and YES!!!  We want to see everyone succeed at their personal goals because they're personal!  I've felt the panicky dread of getting farther and farther behind before and feeling like I was so freaking slow I was going to get left behind.  That absolutely will not happen here.

(True story-  I once shrieked, sobbing, at a volunteer that everyone was LYING that it was almost over and they needed to stop lying!!!)  We want this to be a panic free race event.


What condition will the course be in?

That's a great question and the answer is... we don't know!  Spring is different every single year.  It could be sunny and warm with dry gravel and pavement.  More likely muddy at least along the gravel.  It could even be super slick and icy and still snow covered.  Best bet is to drive down and check as it gets closer but we will also send out updates.  In 2019 the course was pretty darn dry.  Even the puddles in Rabbit Slough past the gate had dried up so it was in great condition.


Do you have a course map?

We have posted the course map above.  Please take a good look at it, especially if you're running the half marathon.  Note the comments that explain a few minor differences.


Where do I park?

We have permission from the school borough to use the parking lots.  There is plenty of parking.  No stress.


What about toilets?

There will be toilets inside the school for everyone to use.


Is there food at the end?

There will be a fully stocked aid station for everyone at the finish line.  The 5k and 10k will have aid stations with water and likely sports drink and some snacks.  The half marathon multi stop station will also have a wide assortment of goodies.  We had a LOT of food left over in 2019 but that's OK!  We are still going to keep putting lots of options out there :)


Is there a social media page?

Yes!  We have included the link below.  Like the page for the most updates.


Can I just throw my trash on the ground?  All the big city races let me do it.

Ummm NO!  Very few things will get you banned.  This is one of them.  Be adults and hold onto your trash until you get to an aid station.  We understand little floaty GU tabs sometimes drop.  If you see that happen be responsible and pick it up.  If your kids drop something take the opportunity to teach them responsibility and have them PICK IT UP!


Can I wear a costume?

If you really want to, sure!  Just make sure it's nothing pointy, scary, or X-rated.  We can't think of a better way to celebrate the return of sunshine to the Valley!


Can I wear those fancy kangaroo shoes or something with springs or a built in computer in my soles?

Please don't.  While we haven't looked into it very closely (yet), all those choices seem like either an unfair advantage OR a good way to injure yourself or others.  We don't want any ambulance trips for our participants.  Update 3/30:  This one is a firm NO.  


I really like to bake and have a killer cookie recipe.  Can I bring some to share?

Absolutely.  You may even become a podium finisher but there are no guarantees those cookies will be there when you finish.


Can I scowl, grumble under my breath, and otherwise just be an unpleasant person on race morning?

Only if you want to be called out on it and publicly hugged.


Can I poke fun at other runners who don't seem like they should be out there?

This is the ultimate way to get banned.  No.


Where should I place my bib?

Please pin or otherwise attach your bib to the front of your clothing with the number visible.  

Find us on Facebook

image28
image29