running

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Just from looking at the crowd gathered outside the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center on Sunday morning, you’d have no idea that temperatures were in the twenties. Frost covered the grass, and a large number of people in the crowd were wearing nothing but shorts and light shirts. Granted, though, most of them were about to run at least 13 miles.

Kenai Watershed Forum

There’s a footrace just about every week on the Kenai Peninsula in the summer, from the Pink Cheeks Triathlon in Seward in early May to the Salmon Run Series at Tsalteshi to the Kenai River Marathon in September. It’s pretty easy to get into running—all you really need is a pair of shoes. But keeping at it, or being willing to run alone, can make it more challenging.

A new running club in Soldotna is hoping to address some of those challenges. The Kenai Running Club meets at Skyview Middle School every Saturday at 8 a.m., with runners of all levels welcome.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The racers scrambling up Mt. Marathon don’t talk much. But every once in a while, they offer some comment of encouragement to another racer who looks like they’re struggling. The junior racers, some as young as 7, forge their way up through the thick mud on the trail toward a turnaround point, and it can be kind of defeating on the way up.


Elizabeth Earl/KDLL

This article has been updated to include all race results.

After a year of no crowds and few in-person athletics, the excitement was evident in Seward today at the annual Mount Marathon race. Even persistent showers couldn’t dampen the spirits around town.

The race, organized by the Mount Marathon Race Committee and the Seward Chamber of Commerce, attracts competitive mountain runners from all over the state and country. Nicknamed “the world’s hardest 5K,” it sends runners from downtown Seward straight up Mount Marathon, where they tag the 3,022-foot peak and then run back downhill to the finish.

Kenai’s Allie Ostrander fell short of an Olympic bid at the Olympic Trial finals in Eugene, Ore. Thursday night. But she did make a personal best, with a time of 9:26.96 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. 

Courtesy of Brenda Ballou

It’s official: Seward swimmer Lydia Jacoby is headed to the Olympics.

Jacoby came in second in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, N.E., last week. But her spot on the U.S. Women’s Olympic swim team wasn’t solidified until this weekend.

Cook Inletkeeper

It’s been a late spring, but the sun is finally peeking out and people are getting more out to participate in runs and other events. The pandemic has lessened, which means those events are getting more back to normal.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The turnout for the big race Sunday in Soldotna was competitive with other major running events in the area — 110 preregistered racers and another 100 signed up at the start line. The course was laid out with plenty of signage and aid stations at the top of the incline and at the turnaround. And race swag was available so people could boast of their big athletic accomplishment.

If you looked closely, though, the distance printed on the braggy stickers and T-shirts was point 5 K. As in, a half a kilometer. A third of a mile. Sixteen hundred forty-ish feet, and every one of them for a good cause.

“We want to eradicate cancer, we want to raise money for programs and research and in about a hundred years or so, we don’ t want to hear anyone say, ‘You have cancer,’” said Johna Beech, event chair for the local Relay for Life organization.