Kenai River Marathon 2014 Review
There was a nice deal to Alaska from Boston in early fall so I did a quick search of which marathon I could do near Anchorage in early September. I found the Kenai River marathon that was on September 28th.
My flight was on Saturday and got into Anchorage Saturday night. It involved about a three hour drive down to Kenai, Alaska, which was very scenic on the way back up Route 1. After a decent nights rest, The race would be the next day at 9am and then another 3 hour drive back to the airport for my 8pm flight out of Anchorage.
From the results available online, the full marathon has been going on for the last 6 years, half marathon about 4 years and this year they added a 5k option.
I managed to get an upgrade on all of my segments, which is a first. I flew BOS-DFW-ANC on American Airlines Saturday and then back Sunday/Monday morning. I also met Sean from pointsplanesandpassports.com. He was doing the same exact mileage run but he was doing a direct turn that night and coming back to Boston by Sunday afternoon. We managed to talk a bit during the stopover in DFW and at the Centurion lounge and also on our quick dinner at ANC.
Here were the picture of our dinner to ANC. Luckily it tasted better than it looked.
Here are some shots of our approach into ANC before the sunset:
After dinner at ANC, I found my rental car and drove to Kenai. I also managed to find a Blockbuster! There was another one in Kenai as well.
I could see with the little light left that it would be a great scenic drive back to Anchorage tomorrow afternoon. I had to pull over to take a quick nap before completing the drive. I lost reception part of the drive there and it made me a bit nervious that I may not be able to get help in some parts of the road. Luckily, it was the main road into Anchorage, so there were a few cars going both directions every few minutes.
After a quick stay at Quality Inn in Kenai, I woke up the following morning and ate the complimentary continental breakfast. I had some orange juice and a bagel in addition to my standard granola bars. I checked out and moved everything back into my car.
Not surprisingly, it was freezing the morning of the marathon. It was just about 40F at the start, with frost even on my car, despite getting in around midnight. I thought it was odd the car came with an ice scraper, but now it makes sense. I used it to clear the windshield to drive down to the start line.
The inn was only about a mile north of the starting line right by the cultural center. I also managed to get a picture of a relay team that would be running the marathon. The marathon relay was available as long as the marathon was and seems to be popular in these smaller marathons.
The start and finish line was right in front of the cultural center.
The race day packet pickup was in the cultural center just beyond the reception area.
Once I got my number and had it attached to my fuelbelt, I was ready for the race. I managed to meet barefoot bandit named Eddie who was on a quest to run all 50 states barefoot this year. He was very well on pace of that, even though he got hit by a car earlier in the year. He was a fellow Marathon Maniac and have conversed on the MM Facebook group.
I spent most of the time either in my car or at the cultural center to keep warm before the start. Once the race was underway, I warmed right up. Eventually, the sun came out from behind the trees to warm up the runners. I didn’t take off my long pants until past the halfway mark when the temperatures hovered in the upper 40s.
It was a very scenic but hilly race. There were quite a few rolling hills and uphill climbs. I usually walked up those hills and ran downhill as much as I could. The race support was very good for such a small marathon.
Towards the end of the race as I was walking a bit more, I had to put back on my long pants and run a little bit to keep warm. This is just one of the challenges of running a marathon in cold weather, despite it being fairly warm. The wind picked up towards the end of the race that made it feel colder than it was. When I was driving back, my car thermometer said 55F.
After the finish, there was a free beer and a sausage for every runner. The reindeer sausage was amazing but I skipped the beer as I had a three hour drive back to the airport.
There was a bit more traffic so it took a bit longer to get back to ANC but the drive was gorgeous. Here were just a few pictures of the drive back. Out of the 50 I took, a few of these came out pretty well, despite driving at 60mph on winding roads.
On my drive back, I got notification that I got the upgrade on my flight back, which totally made my day as I can sleep on the redeye back to DFW.
Before I went to the airport, I stopped by Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill to get Alaska Crab legs. It was a bit pricey but it was very good. It was much cheaper just to get a 1/2 of the crab legs without the vegetable sides so I would recommend that for next time. There was open seating at the bar area so I went there to have my crab legs.
After my quick dinner, I rushed over to the airport. I found the Alaska Boardroom Lounge in Anchorage and got a beer and some soup. The soup was good and they had a great local section of beer at the lounge.
Overall, it was a great short trip and managed to get another state in!