Hatcher Pass Marathon

Welcome to Mat-Su Valley's only 26.2!   Course map
"I have traveled so many places to run all distances and I will say this ranks in the top 3 all time best events for scenery, volunteers and race organization!"
~Jennifer Hatcher via facebook

"One of America's truly great marathon courses. Race director and volunteers were nothing but smiles and support the whole event! The Hatcher Pass Marathon has a bright future. Will be back next year!....with all my friends."
~ Ray Hafen via facebook
Date of the 2015 Hatcher Pass Marathon to be determined.

Please read info and race rules below.
2014 Race Rules & Info
Please keep in mind that this race is organized by a small group of dedicated volunteers with full-time jobs and their own races to train for.
We promise to do our best to provide all runners with a great racing experience. All the while we will remember to have fun as we have been known for not taking ourselves too seriously. Please read the following info carefully, and help us adhere to the race rules. It makes race day run a lot smoother, and makes your race directors happy! Thanks for choosing to participate in the Hatcher Pass Marathon!
So, behold, the rules are below (yes, they are subject to change at race director's discretion!):

Saturday, July 12th, 2014.
Start time: 9 am
There will be an earlier start at approximately 7:30 am for recreational runners. If you don't think you will be able to complete the race in 6 hours we encourage you to consider the early start.
Due to logistics, relay teams will NOT be able to participate in an early start.
Come early to pick up your bib if you plan on the early start, or if you did NOT pre-register online. Race day sign-up & bib pick-up starts at 7 am.

Willow Creek bridge on Shirley Towne Drive, approx. mile 43.25 Willow Fishhook Road.
Directions: From Anchorage, turn right at approximately mile 71.8 Parks Hwy onto Willow Fishhook road (aka Hatcher Pass road). After about 5.5 miles turn left on Shirley Towne Drive. Go down a short distance to the bridge.
See google maps (please note that google maps is not 100% accurate).

Race course:
The route follows Willow Fishhook road (aka Hatcher Pass road) all the way over the summit, and finishes within a quarter mile of Independence Mine State Park. The course is very mountainous, relentless uphill for about 25 miles. Elevation gain is close to 4,000 feet. Approximately 22 miles of it is on gravel road, the rest on pavement (at the beginning of the course).  
The course is slightly longer than 26.2 - please note that it is NOT a certified marathon course.
Entry fee:
Individual, full: $40 online until June 21, then $50 online until July 11, $60 race day registration
Relay teams: $120 online until June 21, then $150 online until July 11th, $180 race day registration
Entry fees are non-refundable. Runners are responsible for any travel cost incurred if the race is canceled, postponed, or runners decide not to attend the race for ANY reason.

Please note that relay runners will sign up as a team, not individually. Which team member will run which leg of the relay will be determined at race day bib pick-up - so, teams have some time to negotiate.  

Online sign-up:

You may sign up online via ultrasignup. (Small fee applies). https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?eid=3146
Online sign-up closes July 11, at high noon, Alaska Daylight Time (NOTE: Ultrasignup states "12:00PM" - this means 12 NOON). Anybody wishing to sign up after this deadline is welcome to do so on race day, including relay teams. We encourage you to sign up early (as it helps us with overall planning), and not wait until the last minute to register online. Race organizers are not responsible for any computer glitches or miscommunication about deadlines. When ultrasignup.com says registration is closed, it IS closed. No excuses, no exceptions. Seriously, NONE, so don't ask.

T-Shirt sizes: You may be asked for a T-shirt size when you sign up online. This is to help the organizers plan ahead with the shirt order, and sizes will not be guaranteed. Shirt sizes tend to run large one year and small another, as the sizes of our runners vary from race to race. Therefore, shirts will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis at bib pick-up.
The race is available as a 3-person relay. Teams may also choose to compete with 2 runners per team, with one runner running two legs. Since relay teams sign up as a group, and not individually, this option gives you more flexibility in case you cannot find a third team member, or if one person has to drop out before the race. We will NOT have a seperate 2-person relay team division, however.
Approximate mileage per relay leg are the following: Leg 1: 8.5 miles, leg 2: 8.5 miles, leg 3: 9.2 miles. The third leg is the most strenuous.  Aid stations will be located at the following mile markers: 4.5, 9, 13, 17, 20, 23.
Aid Stations:
We will have water, Gatorade, fruit, possibly cookies & pretzels, and GU energy gels available at all aid stations. H
owever, we recommend that all runners carry additional liquids and calories according to their needs. Volunteers will close up the aid stations 6 hours after the race start.
This is a point-to-point race. We do not provide shuttle service. Relay teams must provide their own transportation to exchange stations. Clothing transportation to the finish will be provided by race organizers, and we will have limited rides available for runners who do not have a chauffeur.
Parking is available but limited at all locations; i.e. start, exchange zones & finish. Carpooling is highly encouraged, as Independence Mine State Park charges $5 to park near the finish area (on the plus side, they do provide rustic bathroom facilities!). Please note that there is NO parking or idling available at the finish line itself due to space constraints on the road. The Park Service and race committee will strictly enforce this.
Additionally, DOT does not allow parking or spectating within 30ft of the roadway.
Time keeping:
We will not provide individual leg times for relay team members. You will be given clock time (i.e. accrued time since race start). Please wear your own watch if you wish to get an exact leg time. Overall time will be recorded for both the relay and the full marathon to determine placement.
The course will not be "closed", however, official finish times may not be available for runners completing the course 7 hours after race start, and timing officials may have left the finish line. Runners finishing late may email race organizer their run time for listing under "inofficial" results. If you anticipate that this run may take you more than 6 hours we highly recommend that you decide to participate in the early start. This marathon is NOT intended for hikers and walkers. That said, in the past some people demonstrated some fast power-hiking times, so please use your own judgment.
Racers' conduct:
If for any reason you decide to drop out of the race (or, you signed in, picked up your bib, but then get second thoughts on this jaunt and decide to spend your day elsewhere), please let an official (any of the people with stop watches and clipboards) know, and present your bib number for identification. We do not wish having to go on a head hunt for missing runners at the end of a long day on the course.
Please be courteous to other runners, State Park employees, and tourists on the trail. And, make sure to thank a volunteer!
If you are late for the race start please understand that officials may not be available to let you pick up your bib number. We can identify you later. Run fast to catch up, you will be given clock time.

Do not litter! You may leave your trash at the aid stations, but don't expect volunteers to pick up after you along the race course. There is a secret trash patrol squad who will not be afraid to publicly shame any offenders at the post-race awards.

Other potential hazards and inconveniences of the race include, but are not limited to: Traffic (NO road closures during race), serious dust in dry weather, yucky muck in wet weather, brutal exposure to the elements due to high elevation. Consider a cap, or visor, and sunscreen if it's nice out, and a hat, and windbreaker if it's foul. Wildlife encounters have been reported, so be aware that you'll be running through bear country. In exchange for all this you'll get stunning scenery, a major runner's high, and a cool t-shirt!

For accommodations in the Willow area, please consider the following links:

Vern Halter & Susan Whiton's Dream Inn B&B
Just Willow Alaska Vacation Rentals
Gail Just-Cornelius
#495-5878 or 355-4063
B&B Association of Alaska:
Several contacts are available at the Willow Chamber of Commerce site:

Willow Creek Resort campground:

# 495-6343
State Rec Areas / campgrounds & maps:
Course map with approximate mileage + elevation profile (click to enlarge):
For a more detailed look at the course, check these out:


2012 Race wrap-up
Despite some damp, nippy weather towards the second half of this year's race, we had a wonderful time on the mountain.
Thank you all for your valuable feedback. Some suggestions are helpful to improve the race. We will take them to heart and consider them for next year.
We are indefinitely grateful to our fantastic crew of volunteers & sponsors; Janet Sweeney who coordinated the aid stations, Clark Fair who took a bunch of great pictures and hasn't given up making newspaper reporters of us, DeeDee Jonrowe for her moral support, and for helping mark the course, many new and enthusiastic Willow Running Club members being our little elves, Ann Thomas of Active Soles & Body in Balance Physical Therapy, Rhonda Cork of Wasilla Liberty Tax, Pat Owens of the Valley Mountain Bikers & Hikers, Dino & Rose at D's Screen Printing for putting up with our last-minute t-shirt orders, the folks at GU Energy for providing fuel for the runners, the Willow Dog Mushers, Steve Charles of the Willow Trail Committee, the Willow Playgroup, Susan Whiton for enjoying her post at the Craigie Creek aid station, Sue & Jinny for their outstanding attitudes at high altitudes, Bonnie Church for sticking it out in the cold & wet weather at the finish line, Erin & Paul McLarnon for being the BBQ grill meisters, Kathy Sarns of Free Spirit Wear & organizer of the Homer Epic 100K, Steve Bainbridge for donating the race bibs, and for loved ones who put up with stressed race directors!
Both the Frontiersman and the Anchorage Daily News covered the race.
Results are here, including complete relay team results.
Pictures can be found on our facebook page here.
Yvonne Leutwyler,
Jun 22, 2013, 8:06 PM
Yvonne Leutwyler,
Jun 22, 2013, 8:04 PM