The odds are good that Saturday’s 22nd Annual Frank Maier Marathon will feature a new record.
It may not be a personal best or a top time, but the 2013 race is on pace to set a record for total participants.
It would make the the race’s namesake, Maier, proud.
“He wasn’t the fastest thing on the course,” Judith Maier said of her late husband, who died in a fishing accident in 1990. Judith will be at the finish with daughter Mihkel Kryman and 12-year-old grandson Jacob, handing out medals.
“Frank was just the most determined,” she said. “He was committed to Juneau having a marathon and he wanted everyone to be in it.”
Last year’s event - which included the marathon, half-marathon, 2.6-mile run and 1.3-mile run - set a mark for runners with over 235.
Preregistration, as of Wednesday, included over 100 half-marathon runners, over 60 marathoners and 25 deci-marathon - or 2.6-mile -racers.
In keeping with a national trend, females make up the higher portion of runners and half-marathoners are outnumbering their longer-miled counterparts. Less mileage is needed in training for a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, as compared to a 26.2-mile full marathon. If you can go three miles, you are well on your way to half-marathon training.
Race day usually brings 30-50 runners who, whether fueled by a late night of liquid courage or early morning enthusiasm, decide to lace up their shoes and participate.
“If we get about 50 signing up at the race then we will push the record number for runners on the course again,” Brian Bezenek said. Bezenek and co-race director Kimberly Vaughan have been instrumental in getting the event organized. “We are hoping for over 200 anyway. Right now we have the more preregistered than we have before.”
So far, runners have signed up from as far away as Croatia to as close as Wrangell and Sitka. States represented include Texas, California, Tennessee, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oregon, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois, Utah, Maryland, Iowa, Washington (State and D.C.), Virginia, Florida and Georgia.
Racers will begin near the Sandy Beach picnic shelters. Frank Maier Marathon start times are 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., half marathoners begin at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., and Jackson Fraction-Deci (1.31 and 2.62 miles, named in honor of Mike Jackson, who died while training for a similar athletic event, start at 9:15 a.m. Racers try to finish by noon, when the course closes.
Race volunteers for the marathon will staff six aid stations, spaced every two miles. There will be three aid stations for half-marathoners.
Roughly 60 volunteers are involved from start to finish, timing, handing out beverages, taking bib numbers and joining the residents who cheer from front yards along the route.
When all the runners are accounted for a post-race barbeque and awards ceremony will take place, roughly at 11:30 a.m. at Sandy Beach. A pizza party at the downtown Bullwinkles is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Last year Scott Watts, then 46, set a new Masters record of 2:44:44, eclipsing Jim Douglas’ old mark (2:45:56) set in 1993 at the age of 44.
Other Frank Maier Marathon records include, Women’s’ Open: Garrette McIntire, 26, Juneau, 3:12:23 (2009); Women’s Masters: Mary Hanna, 48, Maple Valley, WA, 3:25:04 (2010); Women’s Wheelchair: Holly Koester, 48, Cleveland, OH, 3:27:17 (2008); Men’s Open: Shawn Miller, 23, Juneau, AK, 2:31:30 (2003); Men’s Wheelchair: Seth McBride, 24, Juneau, AK, 2:27:21 (2007).
Half Marathon Records include, Women’s open: Merry Ellefson, 39, Juneau, AK, 1:25:19 (2001); Women’s Masters: Merry Ellefson, 45, Juneau, AK, 1:27:26 (2007); Men’s Open: Shawn Miller, 25, Juneau, AK, 1:09:33 (2005); Men’s Masters: Guy Thibodeau, 42, Juneau, AK, 1:14:16 (1993); and Men’s Wheelchair: Seth McBride, 23, Juneau, AK, 1:37:19 (2006).
“I think it is great,” Judith Maier said. “It is nice to know there is such a good running world. And I hope Nicholas Wright is running.”
Wright, 16, whose father is Frank Maier’s nephew, is signed up for the marathon, already helping to set a new record.