Marathon in 20th year as the island's signature spring event!
Salmon aren't the only creatures running by the hundreds in springtime.
The 20th Annual Prince of Wales Island Marathon and Relays and the Eighth Annual Half Marathon leave the scenic starting line in Craig on May 25, 2019. Scores of participants take off on an out-and-back course that skirts shoreline, forest and Alaska Native sites.
The guest speaker in 2019 is Jered Weber-Johnson, son of the man who organized the first marathon in 1999, the late David "Roadkill" Johnson. The younger Johnson is a graduate of Klawock High School and a former competitive runner. Jered Johnson is an Episcopal priest in Minnesota and is expected to take part in the 20th running of the race that his father founded.
Along with thousands of island residents, the event has drawn runners from all over Alaska and from across the United States. Marathoners from Outside run our course to claim an Alaskan bib in pursuit of a 50-state race career, or to qualify for one of the major international runs.
Prince of Wales Island's Boston-certified race layout takes participants through a swath of Tongass National Forest; past Raven-Mink Alaska Native clan house; near a totem pole carving shed surrounded by ancient poles at rest; across hills; and over streams. Sightings of eagles and other wildlife are routine. Genial race volunteers, many of them in exotic costumes, provide 14 hydration and aid stations on the 13.1-mile route.
The race includes a marathon and half-marathon for men and women as well as relays for four- and eight-person teams. The race is limited to 400 participants to ensure "that quality reigns throughout." The race features five youth teams, each with 15 members ranging in age from kindergarten through fifth grade. Visitors have remarked on the energy these youngsters bring.
Prince of Wales Island Runners Club enlists about 50 businesses and island residents to sponsor the event. The two-day event features friendly gatherings over food, starting with the pre-race pasta feed in Craig on May 24. On race day, participants, staff and volunteers gather for a finish-line seafood and hamburger feed. Post-race massages are available for the road-weary. The awards ceremony includes a snack buffet. Race weekend ends with an adult gathering at Hill Bar.