HALF MARATHON IN ANCHORAGE

Anchorage is the capital of Alaska. It is a small town that spends half the year in darkness and the other half in never ending daylight. There are no skyscrapers, reindeer is the preferred meat for sausages and Moose are a regular neighbour. There is delicious coffee, amazing natural wonders and a calm, welcoming vibe that you won’t want to leave.

Getting to Anchorage (from Vancouver)

  1. Pacific Central Station, Vancouver (Public Transport): At this time I was living in Maple Ridge so I had to first get to Pacific Central Station. I used the public bus and train. There were huges delays so it took two hours to get here and I arrived at 2pm.
  2. King Street Station, Seattle (Boltbus): I was booked on the 2:15PM bus to Seattle with Boltbus. I my ticket downloaded on the app and because I had signed up to the app I had ‘A’ status which meant I got to board the bus first and got one of the first picks of a seat. It took 55mins to get to the border and then we spent 20min for everyone to pass through border control. From here it was another 3hr 15min to Seattle. The bus arrived early at 6:15pm (instead of 6:50pm). There is only 1 passenger drop off until this point at Bellingham. Boltbus is very comfortable and this trip only cost $24.
  3. Seattle Airport (Public Train): The bus station is only a 5-10minute walk to the train station. You need to exit the bus up stairs to the main street and then basically cross the road to reach it. Here you can purchase your tickets at an automated machine with card or cash. Then head down the escalator to the train platform. It takes 32mins to reach the airport.
  4. Anchorage Airport (Plane): The flight from Seattle to Anchorage is only 3.5 hours. We flew with Delta and it was only $79 each (hence the long journey here). When we arrived the sun hadn’t set yet and it was 1:30am!

We took this same route back. The flight to Seattle was only $78USD each and my Boltbus ticket was $18. Our flight left for Seattle at 2am, however there was an hour delay leaving. This caused Todd to miss his connecting flight to Phoenix. As it was the fault of the airline they booked him on the next flight. My bus left King Street Station at 10am back to Vancouver.

Accommodation

We stayed at Airbnb outside of the main center of Anchorage. This was the suite on the lower level of a house set next to a reserve. There was a very modern, rustic vibe in the suite. The bedroom was set in the back in an enclosed room with no windows. This was amazing considering the sun didn’t really ‘set’ why we were visiting so we got some much needed rest before the race.  There was also a bus stop just a 10minute walk (600m) away on Dimon Blvd. The family were super nice. Checkout was the morning of our race, but they let us leave our bags here till we got back and even use the shower until 1pm that day!

Transport

  • Bus: We used the bus while we were here on the first day to travel into and out of downtown. We made sure we had change to buy a [day pass](http://www.muni.org/departments/transit/peoplemover/pages/fareandpass.aspx) for $5 each. We also used the bus to head to the airport on our last day.
  • Taxi: We used a taxi when we landed at 1:30am in the morning (still light!) as Uber, and other shareriding services were illegal, and again on the morning of our race as it was too early for the bus. Both times the taxi drivers were very friendly, though the taxi’s themselves were not in great shape. On the way from the airport the passenger doors didn’t open from the inside 😮
  • Bicycle: We rented bikes from [Downtown Bicyle Rental](http://www.alaska-bike-rentals.com/). The people here are really nice and give us directions on the best path to take. Helmets are complimentary but optional. We follow the route that we had done for our half-marathon passing through Earthquake Park and Tony Knowles Coastal Bicycle Trail. We don’t see any moose. We hire the bikes at 5:30pm for 3 hours for $16 though he said we can keep them until they close at 9pm.

Food

Weather

We were here during July on the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and being so far North the sun never seem to set! It would get ‘dark’ around 2am and then be full daylight again by 4am. This is 11pm at night 😮

ANCHORAGE MAYOR’S HALF-MARATHON

This was the basis for our whole trip. Neither of us had done a half-marathon before and we stumbled upon this one it was perfect. We registered 3 months prior to the event and paid $75USD each. We then started training; myself in Vancouver and Todd in Phoenix.

On the day we were excited and pumped. The race started at 9am at Delaney Park. As there is no shuttle bus and it was too early for the public bus we travelled by taxi. We arrived about 8:30am and there was already plenty of people there. They set up a big sign with a START sign. We went and waited in the crowd. As it got closer to the time the Mayor came out and gave a speech.

Our aim was to try and finish between 2-2.5hours. We both finished just under 2 hours!

The course

This is the course description There is some important Tips on the marathon website.

The Alaska Half Marathon  (13.1 miles) start and finish will be at the Delaney Park Strip. Half marathon runners will begin on West 9th Avenue and head west then turn south on Stolt Lane and S Street. Runners will then turn west on 11th Avenue which turns into Bootlegger Cove Drive then U Street. Runners will leave U Street and enter the bike path at Westchester Lagoon.

The course then proceeds south and west along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to Earthquake Park where runners leave the bicycle path and proceed along West Northern Lights Blvd/Pt. Woronzof Road. A half mile before West End Road runners will leave Pt. Woronzof Road and follow a ½ mile wooded path back to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail where they will head back north and east to Westchester Lagoon.

Runners will leave the bicycle path at Westchester Lagoon onto Bootlegger Cove Drive and retrace the outbound course back to the finish at the Delaney Park Strip. All participants must finish by 3 p.m.

 See the race route map for the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Half Marathon here.

Picking up our gear

Caught the bus to Alaska Airlines Center (30mins). We spent 2 hours at the center to pick up our race packets (10am-6pm), look at the stalls and buy breathable sport shirt for tomorrow. We then took a 20min bus to Downtown.

After the race

At the end of the race we got a medal and t-shirts. There was lots of water and gatorade stations, fruit and cookies. Around the corner there was a free coffee station too. We had recieved free subway vouchers with our registration so we each picked up a sub and chowed down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *