Home‎ > ‎

Hatcher Pass Marathon

Please see 2016 Marathon information at the new website



2015 will be the 5th running of the marathon and marathon relay races. HPM is the only marathon in the Matanuska-Susitna Valleys and one of the toughest in the state of Alaska. It is a point to point course that enjoys some of the most scenic areas in the mountains of the Talkeentas. The course starts on the Willow side of the pass, climbs up 4000 feet over 25 miles to the top of the pass and screams down 1.5 miles to finish just below historic Independence Mine. On the way you will encounter wonderful views, flowing rivers and creeks, helpful and encouraging volunteers and the historic mines of Hatcher Pass. The road you travel was once a busy mining gateway into the gold mines of the Talkeetna mountains, and still acts as the only access up and over the pass.

Below you will find both a quick overview of the basics followed by a more detailed description on the course,  sign up, relay, race rules and maps.

**The only major change from the previous years to this one is the start time. Because it is the 4th of July, we anticipate more traffic as the day progresses. By starting earlier, we hope to reduce this traffic for some of the later finishers.

This is a point to point race. It begins on the washed out Willow Creek Bridge at the end of Shirleytown Road, mile 43.25 of Willow Fishhook Road (Hatcher Pass Road). This is on the Willow side of the pass. From here, the course turns left, and begins the long ascent towards Hatcher Pass. From here, the course is simple. Stay on the road up 25 miles, down 1.2 miles to the finish. The first few miles are paved, then the road turns to a packed gravel road until the finish. The course length varies from approximately 26.2-26.4 miles long. It is not a certified marathon distance. The road is not closed for the race. Traffic generally picks up around Noon close to the finish. On the Willow side of the pass, expect 4-wheelers as well as off-road vehicles. Please be courteous. Many of these people are camping there overnight and may not be aware of the race.

Maps: (coming soon!)

Marathon Relay:
- Relay teams sign up as a team online.
- Individual relay leg times will not be kept, only the overall finish time.
- Team are allowed to be 2-person if a third member can not be found or one team member drops out.
-Leg lengths are as follows: Leg #1- 8.5mi, Leg#2- 8.5ml, Leg #3- 9.2. Leg #1 has some significant climbs in the first half. Leg #2 has gentle, gradual climbing and is the easiest leg. Leg #3 is the most strenuous with several climbs, including the switchbacks up to the summit.
- Relay exchanges will be obvious. The first relay exchange has limited parking. Look to aid station volunteers to direct parking. Please drop off your exchange runner and move farther down the road to avoid congestion. Always keep sight of racers along the course.
- Waiting relay runners should be positioned at the exchange site, slap hands and then start their leg. If there are only two team members, who runs which leg is up to the team.

Drop bags:
- Full marathoners can have a reasonably-sized drop bag for the finish line. There will be a drop bag location at the start. These bags will be taken to the finish line and available as racers finish. This is highly recommended if the weather is going to be cold and/or rainy.
- Please do not bring the kitchen sink or large, party-size coolers.

Transportation & Parking:
- This is a point to point course. There is no shuttle service, so carpooling is recommended, as is begging your spouse, partner, significant other or friend(s) to haul your sorry butt over to Willow at 6:30AM and then dutifully follow you over the pass and pick your spaghetti legs up at the finish. If someone is in need of a ride, we will find one, though there may be a significant wait.
- The finish line food and refreshments are at the bottom of the Independence Mine Parking lot. This means there is a $5 daily parking fee. A 2015 State Park sticker works in this lot.
- There is NO PARKING at the finish line. This is a high traffic area and the State Park is adamant about no parking. Please don't make us yell at you to move your car. Park up in the Mine parking lot and walk down to greet your relay friends and watch the marathoners finish.

DATE: July 4, 2015
RACE START: 8AM, early start option 7AM.  
Cost: Full marathon
April 15- June 7: $60, June 7-July 1: $70, Race day sign-up: $80
Cost: 3-Person Marathon Relay:
April 15-June 7: $120, June 7-July 1: $150, Race day Sign-up: $180
- There will be no race refunds. Racers are responsible for any travel and lodging costs incurred in the event of race cancellation.
**All participants signed up by June 15th will be guaranteed a t-shirt. After that is first-come, first-serve.

Race Start and Time Cut-offs:
Start time is at 8AM. This is one hour earlier than previous years, due to scheduling on a holiday weekend. We hope to avoid some traffic at the finish side by starting earlier.
-There will be an early start offered, beginning at 7AM. Anyone who feels it will take them more than six (6) hours should plan to start early.
- The race course will close at 3pm. You can continue running but do not expect any remaining aid stations to be open, and the finish line will be taken down.
- There will be no early start for Relay teams.

Bib pick-up:
- Bibs can be picked up the morning of the race, starting at 6:30AM. If you are an early starter, be sure to pick-up your bib before 7AM.

- Online sign up starts on April 15, 2015. Visit the following link to ultrasignup: https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?eid=3146
- We HIGHLY encourage you to sign up online and early. This will help tremendously with planning and ordering the most accurate t-shirt sizes.
- Online sign up stops a couple days before the race. Please look at when it ends. If you go online to sign up at 11:59 and it says it is closed, then it is closed. Don't e-mail asking for an exception.
- Race day sign-up is available at an increased cost.
Race Day Sign-up:
- Race day sign-up will be from 6:30AM to 7:30AM ONLY! Please plan accordingly. If it is after 7:30, you will have to wait until we have time to help you.

Aid stations:
- Aid stations will be located at the following mile markers: 4.5, 9, 13, 17, 20, 23.  They will have water, Gatorade and a variety of foods. There will be no gels.
- If a racer feels they need water more frequently or want to have additional food options, they are responsible for them.
- Volunteers will close up aid stations 6 hours are race start, sooner for early miles.

Odds and Ends:
- Please be courteous to other runners, State Park employees, and tourists on the trail. And, make sure to thank a volunteer!
- If you are late for the race start please understand that officials may not be available to let you pick up your bib number. We can identify you later. Run fast to catch up, you will be given clock time.
- Do not litter! You may leave your trash at the aid stations, but don't expect volunteers to pick up after you along the race course. There is a secret trash patrol squad who will not be afraid to publicly shame any offenders at the post-race awards.
- Potential hazards and inconveniences of the race include, but are not limited to: Traffic (NO road closures during race), serious dust in dry weather, yucky muck in wet weather, brutal exposure to the elements due to high elevation. Consider a cap, or visor, and sunscreen if it's nice out, and a hat, and windbreaker if it's foul. Wildlife encounters have been reported, so be aware that you'll be running through bear country. In exchange for all this you'll get stunning scenery, a major runner's high, and a cool t-shirt!