Not every Alaskan is driving to the Kenai Peninsula this weekend — some are running

Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 15:16
  • The Alaska Relay began Friday, June 15, 2018 at Mirror Lake. Teams of as many as 12 runners are competing in the relay, which takes runners from Chugiak to Seward over the course of the race. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Runners will take the phrase “long weekend” to the extreme starting Friday morning in Chugiak, where contestants in the 2019 Alaska Relay will begin their nearly 200-mile trek south to Seward.

The third annual running of the relay race gets underway at 8 a.m. at Mirror Lake Park, where teams of up to 12 athletes will head out onto the course. The first finishers are expected in downtown Seward the following day.

Last year’s winning team finished in 24 hours, 55 minutes and 24 seconds despite conditions that included strong winds and heavy rain along the course. The race began under light rain and partly cloudy skies in Chugiak, but by the time runners reached Seward they had endured brutal conditions through Turnagain Arm, where several race porta-potties were blown over.

The first leg of the relay runs along the Old Glenn Highway roughly 8.4 miles from Mirror Lake to the Eagle River Fred Meyer. After that there’s just 35 sections to go, ranging in distance from 2.4 to 10.4 miles in length. Teams leapfrog each other in support vans that carry racers and supplies ahead to the next checkpoint.

The event includes men’s, women’s and mixed divisions. The record of 23 hours, 19 minutes was set in 2017 by “Lactic Alaskan Trip,” a mixed men’s and women’s team.

For updates on the race, visit the North by Northwest Relays Facebook page or visit the race website at thealaskarelay.com.

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