Heading into its 21st year of existence, the annual Only Fools Run At Midnight race is ready to take off from Centennial Hall at precisely 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.
Now in its third decade, the annual race has grown into a Juneau tradition. The race benefits SAIL - Southeast Alaska Independent Living.
"It's a big deal," said race director Tristan Knutson-Lombardo. "It's our 21st year. The race has gone through some changes. It kind of hit its peak back around six or seven years ago, went through some changes and now SAIL has brought it back and it's going to be one of the biggest Fools runs yet."
The race features competitive athletes looking to cross the tape first and plenty of people who just like to get dressed up in wacky costumes.
The race's unique and lively atmosphere attracts runners from throughout the state and brings out people from the community.
"People in the past have come from around Alaska to come to the race," Knutson-Lombardo said. "We used to have prize money in the race, but this year's theme focuses on having fun, but we're still recognizing the top finishers in different divisions and genders."
While there will be a one-mile walk and a 5K race, the biggest draw to the event are the elaborate costumes.
People routinely try to one-up each other with wild clothing and strange costumes. Other runners form centipedes - with several people dressed up similarly.
Sometimes the competition to come up with the best costume can supersede the race itself.
"This year I've been talking to people and some people won't reveal what they're doing," Knutson-Lombardo said. "Others have huge, elaborate schemes. There is a competition among the costumes."
This year, there will also be Fools races in Ketchikan and Sitka happening simultaneously with Juneau's event.
Last year's race drew more than 500 people in Juneau.
Race-day registration takes place at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Centennial Building. The first 400 entries will receive glow in the dark shirts. Race-day registration costs are $20 for adults, $10 for children 14-and-under and $50 for a family of four.
"Everyone looks forward to this one," Knutson-Lombardo, a former high school track champion, said. "We could barely advertise for it and get 200 to 300 people easily. It's definitely a looked-forward to event."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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