Thousands of people are gathering in Seward Friday for a sunny Fourth of July, marked by a tradition predating Alaska’s statehood: this year’s 87th annual Mount Marathon Race.

Friday’s events will begin with a junior race, with children ascending halfway up the mountain in an abbreviated version of the race. Women and men will then take on the grueling 3,000-foot ascent from downtown Seward in separate races, marked by an infamous descent which at times can be closer to a controlled fall.

Last year’s four champions posted this year’s times to watch: Lyon Kopsack was 2013’s fastest boy at 27 minutes and 4 seconds, with repeat winner Allison Ostrander turning in a time of 31:40. In the full race, Christy Marvin took the women’s title with a time of 53:21, and Eric Strabel retook the men’s crown he lost in 2012 by crossing the finish line at 42:55. will carry a continuing live-stream signal from the Mount Marathon Race throughout the day with programming downtime between races, beginning at 9:25 a.m. for the junior race, 11:10 a.m. for the women’s race and 2:30 p.m. for the men’s race. Channel 2 will carry a live special on the race from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.