Samuel and Justine Carlisle, a couple from Asheville, North Carolina, cross the finish line of the Juneau Half Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. Organizers of the event, which includes full and half marathons, estimate about half of the participants are from outside Juneau because it is considered a “destination” race. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Samuel and Justine Carlisle, a couple from Asheville, North Carolina, cross the finish line of the Juneau Half Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. Organizers of the event, which includes full and half marathons, estimate about half of the participants are from outside Juneau because it is considered a “destination” race. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

A smokin’ Saturday for big crowd of racers in Juneau Marathon and Half Marathon

Big increase in runners this year who take on full- and half-length courses on hot and hazy day.

All of the participants can say they had a smokin’ time in this year’s Juneau Marathon and Half Marathon, regardless of how long it took them to complete the courses, thanks to unseasonably hot temperatures along with hazy air caused by smoke drift from Canada’s raging wildfires.

A total of 230 people registered for the two races, about 200 of whom finished the 26.2-mile and 13.1-mile courses, which is about 40 more than last year, said David Epstein, director of the races organized by Juneau Trail and Road Runners. The races began and ended at Savikko Park, with the full marathon course requiring runners to complete a there-and-back trip along most of the main road on Douglas Island.

Runners begin the 26.2-mile Juneau Marathon that started and ended at Savikko Park on Saturday. The race course spans most of the main road on Douglas Island. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Runners begin the 26.2-mile Juneau Marathon that started and ended at Savikko Park on Saturday. The race course spans most of the main road on Douglas Island. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Epstein said there appeared to be two reasons for the increase: strong word-of-mouth praise for last year’s race as local summer activities returned to pre-COVID-19 levels and a large number of people outside Juneau coming for the race.

“The Juneau marathon is considered a destination marathon,” he said, estimating half of this year’s participants came from outside Juneau.

Among the visitors was a group from Mainly Marathons, whose members try to complete marathons in all 50 states during a year, Epstein said. They arrived earlier during the week in Juneau, taking part in three of their own trail races on separate days before participating in the official marathon.

“These people have got bionic bones,” he said. “We had a bunch of them sign up, like 15 or 20.”

A map shows smoke levels from wildfires in Canada in Southeast Alaska and other parts of North America as of midday Sunday. The smoke level is Juneau is officially catagorized as light. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A map shows smoke levels from wildfires in Canada in Southeast Alaska and other parts of North America as of midday Sunday. The smoke level is Juneau is officially catagorized as light. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Temperatures under mostly sunny skies in Juneau reached a high of 77 degrees on Saturday, well above the average July 29 high of 64 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Haze from the Canadian wildfires was also clearly visible, with a map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing a “light” level of smoke drifting over a large section of Southeast Alaska.

“It was hot, but we didn’t have anyone keel over,” Epstein said.

Aaron Morrison of Juneau refuels after winning the Juneau Marathon on Saturday with a time of exactly 3 hours, 11 minutes. Gabby Rockwood of Park City, Utah, was the fastest woman with a time of 3:39:14. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Aaron Morrison of Juneau refuels after winning the Juneau Marathon on Saturday with a time of exactly 3 hours, 11 minutes. Gabby Rockwood of Park City, Utah, was the fastest woman with a time of 3:39:14. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

The winner of the full marathon was Aaron Morrison of Juneau with a time of exactly 3 hours, 11 minutes, which was exactly six minutes ahead of Alonzo Wickers of Los Angeles who finished in 3:17. Gabby Rockwood of Park City, Utah, won the women’s division with a time of 3:39:14, with Tracy Morrison of Juneau finishing second with a time of 3:40:57.

The half marathon winner was Finn Morley of Juneau with a time of 1:12:46, finishing ahead of Zack Bursell of Juneau at 1:15:46. The fastest woman was Kayleigh Eddy of Petersburg with a time of 1:30:27, well ahead of second-place Kseniia Yarova of Juneau at 1:37:38.

Full results of both races are at jtrr.org/event/2023/race/755/ap.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Racers gather under hazy skies at Savikko Park on Saturday morning for the start of the Juneau Half Marathon. A total of 146 people participated in the 13.1-mile course. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Racers gather under hazy skies at Savikko Park on Saturday morning for the start of the Juneau Half Marathon. A total of 146 people participated in the 13.1-mile course. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

A car offers encouragement to a participant in the Juneau Marathon and Half-Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

A car offers encouragement to a participant in the Juneau Marathon and Half-Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Kristin Campbell, of Deer Park, Ohio, is photographed by observers at the finish line of the Juneau Half Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Kristin Campbell, of Deer Park, Ohio, is photographed by observers at the finish line of the Juneau Half Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Participants in the Juneau Marathon and Half Marathon take shelter from the sun as they recharge with food and drinks at Savikko Park on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Participants in the Juneau Marathon and Half Marathon take shelter from the sun as they recharge with food and drinks at Savikko Park on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Zack Bursell of Juneau nears the finish line of the Juneau Half Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. He finished second in the race with a time of 1 hour, 15 minutes, 46 seconds. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

Zack Bursell of Juneau nears the finish line of the Juneau Half Marathon on Saturday at Savikko Park. He finished second in the race with a time of 1 hour, 15 minutes, 46 seconds. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Trail and Road Runners)

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