Most runners in Juneau have probably met Glenn Frick, the 66-year-old member of the Smokin' Old Geezers running troupe.
Few runners, however, expected the competitive runner to pull off to the side of the road and cheer for other athletes during the 2004 half-marathon. Of course, he got right back on course and still had a great finish.
Frick, other locals and almost 50 out-of-towners will be jockeying for good running times at the 2005 Frank Maier Marathon starting at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and the 13.1-mile Douglas Island Half Marathon Saturday.
The full marathon starts at 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. with the half-marathon kicking off at 9 a.m.
Runners from New York, Florida, Wyoming, Hawaii and 19 other states are signed up to participate in the race - including one athlete who is trying to complete a personal record.
Dan Williams, a chemistry professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, will be running in Juneau to complete a personal goal of participating in a marathon in each of the 50 states.
The Juneau Marathon is a scenic and challenging race with predictably unpredictable weather. The course starts and ends at Sandy Beach and meanders out the North Douglas Highway - providing spectacular views of the ocean, forest, glaciers and sometimes wildlife.
Although barely noticeable in a car, the course includes a few hills. Half-marathon runners will be relieved after topping Mike Hatch Hill, knowing they are no more significant hills and only a few flat miles to the finish line at Sandy Beach.
Marathoners must also conquer the hill past False Outer Point to reach the 13-mile aid station where Pete Huberth maintains his annual tradition of handing out water, Gatorade and "gu" - a gooey sugar re-fueling gel.
Locals are also encouraged to get out on the North Douglas Highway on Saturday to cheer on the racers. People can also volunteer to help out at race aid stations.
Frank Maier, a long time Juneau runner, is memorialized annually with a weekend of events celebrating his joy of running. Race sponsor and Juneau's local running club, Southeast Road Runners, will host a pre-race pasta dinner Friday night at 5 p.m. at Chinooks for runners and family members.
Local runners are invited to pre-register on line at Active.com, the JRC/The Alaska Clubs, the Alaska Nugget Outfitter or Foggy Mountain. For more info or to volunteer, call Race Director Bob Marshall at 586-6200.