Roy Neese

Anchorage RunFest

One of Alaska's premier running events, Anchorage RunFest (formerly the Big Wild Life Runs) are held annually during August. The event draws racers of all abilities for races ranging from a mile to 49 kilometers.

With a whole fleet of races to select from, as well as training seminars, a pasta feed, and the expo, RunFest has truly become a festival of races. With a kids' race, 5K, half and full marathons, the Anchorage Mile run and the 49K Ultra race there is something on offer for runners of any ability. Anchorage RunFest will be held Aug. 19-20, 2017.

True to its name, Anchorage RunFest is a weekend devoted to running, and offers something for everyone. Once known as the Big Wild Life Runs, the event is the premier event for the Anchorage Running Club. The weekend features the Moose’s Tooth Marathon, the Bear Tooth Marathon Relay, the Skinny Raven Half Marathon, the Spenard Roadhouse 5K, the Children’s Hospital at Providence Kids’ 2K Fun Run and the Anchorage Mile.

Each race is far from ordinary.  It’s a great place to train up for a fall race, and the marathon is also a Boston Marathon qualifier. The 49K Ultra, it goes out beyond the marathon turnaround point on the Coastal Trail, and ultra participants must tackle the "Kincaid Hill" before returning to Chester Creek and eventually downtown.

The start/finish line is in the heart of downtown Anchorage, but this isn’t an urban road race. The marathon, half marathon and 5K quickly leave downtown and hit the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. The trail traces the coast of Cook Inlet, with views of Mount Susitna, known locally as Sleeping Lady. The route also includes wooded stretches of the Chester Creek Trail, which cuts through the city east-west in a wide greenbelt following the course of the creek. Olympian and lifetime runner Jeff Galloway named the it one of the most scenic races in the nation in his book "America's Best Places to Run." Wildlife aren’t the only spectators either; local organizations turn out to staff aid stations, musical groups from polka to taiko drummers entertain racers and race course neighbors and area high school cross-country teams cheer on participants.