Midnight sun mystique attracts runners to Anchorage Mayor's Marathon

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - For the last 40 years, running enthusiasts have made the trip to Alaska to run along the trails surrounding the Cook Inlet in celebration of the Summer Solstice.

The Mayor's Marathon takes place every year on the Saturday closest to the Solstice as a celebration of the longest day of the year.

Runners from all around the world make their way to the 49th state to be a part of the famous event put on by the University of Alaska Anchorage and Anchorage Parks and Recreation.

The Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday at Bartlett High School followed by a four-person relay marathon. A half-marathon at 9 a.m. and a 5-kilometer race at 9:15 a.m. send runners along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail for scenic views of Cook Inlet.

To some, Mayor's Marathon is more than a celebration of the extended sunlight. Pat Mosey is attempting to run a marathon in all 50 states, and Alaska is the lone state she has yet to check off her list. To Mosey, Mayor’s seemed like a perfect fit to end her cross-country journey.

Yasir Salem is also trying to run a marathon in every state. Racing for his wife who passed away from lung cancer, Salem wants to raise awareness by running Mayor’s. The race has been a longstanding event in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program.

Michael Friess coordinated the event and has high praise for Solstice Weekend and all that comes with it. The sun will rise before 5 a.m. and won’t begin to set until nearly midnight, so racers will have plenty of sunlight to enjoy after their run regardless of which event they choose. The Summer Solstice Festival takes place just a few blocks away from the finish line along 4th avenue.

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