Races — Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon Stays (Mostly) Dry

running-advice-bugANCHORAGE — When the rain really starting falling Saturday evening during the downtown music festival going on in Anchorage, I knew what all the runners around me were thinking: ‘better now than this morning’. As it turns out, the rain had mostly stayed away from the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon that morning, with just a few periods when the wet stuff came down. It turned out in fact to be a perfect day for a marathon with cool temperatures and overcast skies.

Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon

This may sound like an unusual way to start a news story about a marathon — normally they start with the winners for one thing — but the Mayor’s Midnight Sun is unlike most marathons. It is one of the most interesting blends of urban and wild running that I’ve experienced and this year was no exception.

Although the course features two urban high-schools — one at the start and one at the finish — the route between the two includes quiet forests, single-track trail, paths along meandering creeks, and gorgeous views of estuaries, mountains and trees. You never get far from the city, but this is Alaska, so you really don’t have to go far. And the thought that around any corner you might catch sight of a moose, an eagle or a bear helps keep a marathon runner’s tiring mind busy for all of those miles.
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Photos — Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon 2010

Mayor's Midnight Sun Anchorage Marathon 2010


Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon 2010

Originally uploaded by Coach Joe English

Here are some 200+ photos that I shot at the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in June 2010.

To see a slideshow of the set, click here.

Read more about the race at our web-site: www.running-advice.com/blog

Photos (c) Copyright Joe English, Running Advice and News

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Races — Many Journeys to Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon

anchorageANCHORAGE — In the 1948 film, the Naked City, the narrator tells us, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them.” I’ve often thought about that quote in the context of marathons and marathon runners. To me, with every marathon that I support, I feel that I get a step closer to being able to express how the marathon is not just a collection of stories, but the culmination of a series of long journeys that is much too complex to put our minds around. I got a step closer this weekend at the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage.

The Anchorage event has been one of my favorite marathons for some time. What it has to offer is unlike almost any mid-size marathon in the United States. It is well organized. It offers all of the amenities that you’d expect, like great aid stations that even serve oranges and pretzels. And, perhaps most importantly, it is delivered against a stunning backdrop on the edges of the Alaska wilderness.

Perhaps that’s why so many people’s marathon journeys bring them to this remote part of the world. In this place, they can achieve their marathon goals, but they can lose themselves in the woods for time while doing it.

Runners at the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon

Runners at the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon

Many of the people that come to Anchorage for the Mayor’s Marathon are brought by the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Society’s “Team In Training” program, which like many charities provides a coaching program for marathon runners and walkers to prepare for their first marathon. And while many people in the broader media — and perhaps even the broader running culture — like to flog charity running groups for bringing people to marathons that aren’t traditional runner types, they have missed a substantial point in making their criticisms. The point is that the journey these people are on is so much larger and more poignant than just running a marathon. The marathon is just the last step, or perhaps the first, in an emotional journey that most of us don’t have the capacity to understand.
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Photos — Selected Photos from Mayor’s Marathon Anchorage 2009




Mayor’s Marathon Anchorage 2009

Originally uploaded by Coach Joe English

Here is a selection of photos from the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon 2009 in Anchorage Alaska. These are some of my favorite shots from the race.

Come along for the complete journey. The photos here represent my day following a group of runners and walkers from their hotel to the start and then through the entire race and on into the after party. I hope you get a flavor for what this race looks like from start to finish.

To watch the slide show on Flickr, click here.

There are more photos from the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon on Flickr posted here.

Running Advice and News
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Photos copyright 2009 www.running-advice.com and Joe English

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Coming Today — Anchorage Mayor’s Midnight Sun Coverage

Our coverage from the Anchorage Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon is coming today. We have over 450 photos, interviews and news to post.

Check back later for the complete story from Anchorage.

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Living vicariously through first-time runners; a journey to Alaska for Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon 2008

Sean Sullivan and Dave Brewer of TNT OregonI love what a marathon does to a person.

Take the 110 pound lady that was on the bus back to the airport with me after this weekend’s Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage. She was telling me that she was hungry and needed a snack. I reached into my bag and pulled out a small bunch of bananas, offering them to her, but thinking that she might pick one and hand the bunch back. I watched in awe as she scarfed down the whole bunch.

Another runner told me that she had been eating constantly since the race ended. She wondered aloud to me that it didn’t seem normal that she had eaten 4 muffins from the breakfast bar and was still hungry. Normal, I offered, doesn’t typically apply after a marathon.

I spent this weekend running and walking alongside the crowds at the Mayor’s Marathon race, which is becoming a favorite of mine on my yearly travel calendar. Most would expect that the scenery would be spectacular (it is), but there is something more that is special about this race. I think it is the level of transformation that’s going on here with the multitudes of first time runners in the event. There’s just something about flying to the furthest reaches of our country, to a land where the sun doesn’t really go down, that amplifies the impact of a race which turns people from normal beings into people who can snarf down three bananas and still be looking for more food.

I’ve grown to form a special fondness for the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon. Not only is it the only race course on which I’ve seen both a bear and a moose, but the special excitement of visiting this spectacular place on the Summer Solstice makes it that much more appealing.
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Selected photos from Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon 2008




DSC_2709

Originally uploaded by Coach Joe English

Here is a selection of photos from the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon 2008. I took more than 600 photos at the event, but these were some of my favorites.

By clicking on the link below, you will be taken to the Flickr site and the photos will be presented as a gallery.

Photos copyright Joe English, Running Advice and News. Certain pre-race photos copyright Debbie Baxter, Debbie Baxter Photography.

Click here to go to the slide show of my favorite 50 shots.

WANT MORE? Here’s a link to all 500 of the photos that I took. Don’t wear yourself out thumbing through them. Click here to go to the full set.

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Article: Marathons put the hurt on all participants

The Anchorage Daily News has a good commentary on what the marathon feels like to everyone that runs them. Writer Doyle Woody warns in a humorous introduction to his article:

The forecast for many of you 26.2-mile first-timers is partly miserable with occasional periods of suffering and a mild chance of legitimate anguish. Doesn’t matter if you’re a lickety-split type or someone who gets passed on training runs by people pushing strollers — the marathon does not discriminate.

Still, it’s important to embrace your agony. You’ve worked hard for this day — if not, big bummer for you — and you’ve no doubt persevered through some difficult training, so you have experience with excruciation. You’re going to endure some bad patches Saturday, sure, but you’ll be in good company.

The article is worth the read. Click here to read the stroy on the Anchorage Daily News web-site.

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Upcoming: Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year and that means that it is time for the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage Alaska. For the second year in a row, I’m on the ground in Alaska to provide coverage of this great marathon.

Here are some items that I published from last year’s race, including my course preview and photos taken at the 2007 event.

Coverage of the 2008 event will be coming Sunday here from Running Advice and News.

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