There are many reasons to travel to Alaska, but running a marathon is one great way to experience the last frontier. If you are passionate about running and travel, a marathon in Alaska should be on your bucket list. Alaska has plenty of Boston Marathon qualifying races, too. What better way to qualify than combining it with an epic Alaskan vacation?
Article Overview: A Complete Guide to Marathons in Alaska
Marathons in Alaska:
Alaska has many options for picking a marathon that is right for you. Alaska has everything from paved city street marathons to truly rustic trail runs. One thing is certain: they all have epic Alaskan views, and most are qualifying races for the Boston Marathon.
Whether you are trying to run a marathon in every state, a tourist wanting to mix up a vacation with a marathon, or just curious about Alaska’s marathon options, tie up those trainers, and let’s get running.
If you’re traveling to Petersburg, Alaska, Check out Petersburg, Alaska: Essential Guide
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I’ve never had the opportunity to run a marathon in Alaska, but I love traveling and running, so I’m sure it won’t be long before I sign up for a race when visiting the 49th state.
Complete List of Marathons in Alaska
Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon
Organized by the University of Alaska Anchorage and Anchorage Parks & Recreation, The Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon has occurred annually for over 40 years on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice. During the 19+ hours of daylight on one of the year’s longest days, organizers host a Marathon, Half Marathon, 5 Miler, Kid’s Mile, and Relays simultaneously.
The race starts at ConocoPhillips Soccer Stadium at Kincaid Park (9401 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502), and the finish line is at Delaney Park Strip in downtown Anchorage (West end of Park Strip between 9th & 10th Streets). The course is made up of pedestrian pathways and forested trails. The finish line festivities include a Solstice Beer Garden presented by 49th State Brewing (one of our favorite bars in Anchorage).
The Marathon course is certified by USA Track and Field as a Boston Marathon qualifier
ADDRESS: Anchorage, AK DATES: June 22, 2024
Prince of Wales Island Marathon
Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska is one of our favorite places. The third largest island in the United States, Prince of Wales, is a unique and beautiful location to host a Marathon. The race is certified and can be used as time qualifiers for the Boston Marathon.
The marathon is an out-and-back course and begins and ends at Sunnahae Mountain at Craig High School.
ADDRESS: Craig, AK DATES: May 27, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Planning on running in the Prince of Wales Island Marathon? Check out our FULL GUIDE to Prince of Wales Island: Island Life in Alaska
They advertise themselves as “Alaska’s toughest marathon.” I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that this looks like a fun and challenging race and a great excuse to visit Skagway. Duff’s Skagway Marathon hosts the Marathon, Half Marathon, and Walking Half Marathon on a stunning course on an Alaskan fjord coastline. Arguably the most scenic marathon in Alaska.
ADDRESS: Skagway, AK 99833 DATES: Jun 10, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Alaska Salmon Runs (Copper River Salmon Jam)
The Alaska Salmon Run in Cordova, Alaska, offers its runners spectacular views while running through the Copper River delta. They have a 1 mile fun run, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and a marathon. All runners (except the 1-mile fun run) meet at the Race’s Headquarters and are driven on shuttle buses to the start line of their respective races.
Most of the course is at sea level, following the old Copper River railroad. The marathon starts at a 27-mile bridge – The first half of the course is gravel, and the second half is on a paved road. The last section of the course runs by Eyak Lake.
ADDRESS: Cordova, AK DATES: Jul 15, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Hosted by the Juneau Trail & Road Runners, the Juneau Marathon starts and finishes at Savikko Park in Douglas (across the Gastineau Channel from Juneau proper). They host a half and a full marathon on their out-and-back course on the Douglas Highway in Juneau, Alaska. The course has ocean and glacier views.
ADDRESS: Juneau, AK DATES: Jul 29, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
The Alaska Bearfest Marathon is part of the larger Bearfest in Wrangell, Alaska. Bearfest is a local bear-related celebration, including art and photo workshops, symposiums, and fine dining events. They host three races: a 5k, a half marathon, and a full marathon. One of the unique things about this marathon is the winning prize, a trip for two to the Anan Bear Observatory.
ADDRESS: Wrangell, AK DATES: Jul 30, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Anchorage RunFest is a big event and offers a vast selection of races, most notably their 49k race. If a marathon wasn’t enough for you, why not run 7 kilometers more and compete in the 49k Ultra Race? They also offer multiple 1-mile races, kid’s 2k, 5k, 10k, full and half marathons, and a marathon relay. The Anchorage RunFest has races for everyone. The marathon was Rated #5 of the 10 Best Marathons in the Nation by USA Today readers in 2023.
This Alaska Marathon begins and ends in downtown Anchorage, taking runners through the city streets and eventually leading you to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and the Chester Creek Trail.
The marathon course is USATF certified and is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
ADDRESS: Anchorage, AK DATES: Aug 20, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
This Marathon takes place annually in September, close to the autumnal equinox. This may be the most challenging of all the Marathons in Alaska. This course is primarily on trails rather than paved roads and has many elevation changes. The Equinox Marathon may be the most challenging, but it also has the potential to be the most fun. Most Marathons in the lower 48 have runners pounding the pavement through busy city streets. Why not get off the pavement and onto these trails when running a marathon in Alaska?
ADDRESS: Fairbanks, AK DATES: Sep 16, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Kenai River Marathon
The Kenai River Marathon offers a full marathon, half marathon, relay, and 5k fun run. The marathon starts and ends at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center near the Kenai Airport. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many details on this race, I will update the listing if I learn more.
ADDRESS: Kenai, AK DATES: Sep 24, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Girdwood is one of our favorite spots to visit in Alaska. It’s a tourist spot for sure, but it’s still a ton of fun: great food, amazing views, and awesome trails. The local trails are what make the Girdwood Marathon unique. The race utilizes the stunning trails that meander through their local temperate rainforest. The marathon organizers warn potential runners: “This is NOT the race to run if it’s your first marathon.”
The Girdwood Marathon offers a full and half marathon, both races start at the Alyeska Daylodge. This race is a fundraiser for the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club and should be at the top of your list if you are a veteran trail runner and have completed previous marathons.
ADDRESS: Girdwood, AK DATES: Oct 7, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
KMXT Run the Rock
This family-friendly race, one of the season’s later marathons, is on Kodiak Island. The KMXT Run the Rock offers a full and half marathon, 10k, and a 5k race. The marathon has a mix of both paved and gravel trails.
ADDRESS: Kodiak, AK DATES: Oct 14, 2023 (2024 dates TBD)
Alaska has a Marathon for every Runner
Alaska has a marathon for every type of runner. With a state with such a small population and difficult weather, it’s surprising how many marathons it hosts. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of the runners living in Alaska that they can organize so many unique marathons in often difficult locations. Lucky for us, we have plenty of Marathons to pick from. If I had to pick one race for my Alaska bucket list, it would be the Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks.
Hopefully, this list has inspired you to run a marathon in Alaska. I can’t imagine a better way to explore the last frontier.
Exploring Southeast Alaska? heading to Prince of Wales Island? Check out our FULL GUIDE to Prince of Wales Island: Island Life in Alaska
List of Marathons in Alaska (Post Summary)
Here’s a list of all the Marathons in Alaska.
- Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon
- Prince of Wales Island Marathon
- Skagway Marathon
- Alaska Salmon Runs (Copper River Salmon Jam)
- Juneau Marathon
- Bearfest Marathon
- Anchorage RunFest
- Equinox Marathon
- Kenai River Marathon
- Girdwood Marathon
- KMXT Run the Rock