Mt. Marathon racers allowed to defer until next year due to smoke

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Mount Marathon race officials have announced that registered runners for this year’s race may defer their entry until next year if they choose not to race later this week due to wildfire smoke.

The race is notoriously hard to get into. Runners who complete the race are guaranteed a spot in the following year's race. Ten-time racers, elite mountain runners and some others can get spots too, but first-time racers generally must enter a lottery to get a coveted bib for the 4th of July tradition.

The deferment option is open for any registered racer, including lottery winners, priority racers, petitioners and special invites. There’s a deferral form registered racers must fill out to complete the deferred entry. Racers with 10-year status, or those who already have submitted medical or military deferrals are already covered.

The form must be filled out and turned in by Friday, July 5 at 11:59 p.m. Racers can pick up their bibs up to one hour before race time on July 4. Those deadlines allow for runners to make last-minute decisions based on air quality at the time of the race, race coordinator Jen Leahy told Channel 2.

Race officials cited a Department of Environmental Conservation advisory on air quality in Southcentral Alaska in making the decision.

Late last week some top contenders said their asthma and other lung issues had them considering sitting this year’s race out.

The race’s history stretches back more than a hundred years to its first running in 1915. It was last canceled in 1942 due to World War II, and no races were held between 1932 and 1938, or between 1920 and 1924, when the railroad was built.

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