7th Annual Mineral Creek Half Marathon

August 13, 2017

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This shot is from the 2011 race.

The 7th annual Mineral Creek Half Marathon is in the books. Thanks to all the runners and volunteers! This was the final running of the event. Below is the info from the historical registration page.

Registration includes a colorful event t-shirt, refreshments, timing of the race, and limited course support. Prizes awarded to the top male and female runners. Cash time bonuses: for men, $20/$100 for everyone under 1:20/1:11. For women, $20/$100 for everyone under 1:31/1:21. Winners get a hooded sweatshirt plus free entry at next year's event. If enough people register, prizes will be expanded to include a masters/age graded award and runner up prizes.

The Course
The half marathon starts and finishes at the east levee parking area at the intersection of Blueberry Hill Road and Egan Street immediately east of the bridge over Mineral Creek in Valdez, Alaska.

A map of the course can be found here. The course starts with a mildly annoying out and back required to get the distance up to the full 13.1 miles, then runs to the shot up sign/gate at the end of the semi-maintained part of the Mineral Creek gravel road. Approximately the first and last mile is a non motorized area. A volunteer, possibly with a small amount of water available, will be recording runners at the turn around point. The whole course is an unpaved gravel road. The gravel road is a fine running surface - softer than pavement, but graded and smoother than a trail. There are tons of pot holes and it will likely have puddles and wet areas. There is a stream crossing up to a foot deep. There are rolling hills gaining about 600 vertical feet on the way out, and dropping that same amount as you return to the finish line. The course is beautiful, with dozens of waterfalls pouring down both sides of the steep valley walls.

Limited Support
There will be water available at the start and finish, and it's possible the course volunteer at the turn around point will have some water available, but there won't be additional water stops along the way. I made chocolate chip cookies for the end of the race every year so far, but no guarantees I'll be similarly motivated this time around. Most of the course allows motorized traffic, and in my experience you can expect to see a couple of cars or four wheelers during the run. The course will not be closed to other traffic of any kind. It's a dead end rough road, so it's not exactly a rush hour thoroughfare, but people occasionally hike, bike, or drive along parts of it, generally turning back by the stream crossing around the 3 mile mark. You are on your own for medical support of any kind. Expect the weather to be gray and drizzly. Plan on your shoes and clothes getting wet. Mosquitos are not unheard of. Bears live in this valley. Bring a bear bell, bear spray, etc if that's your kind of thing. There's a 3.5 hour time limit, and the finish line will not be supported after that time. You are welcome to take longer than that, and the t-shirt is yours regardless of time or finishing status, but after 3.5 hours you should not expect finish line timing or water. If you preregister, you do need to show up to claim your t-shirt, otherwise it will be gifted in your name to one of our generous volunteers.

Partial Course View
This shot looking back toward Valdez shows part of the road you will be running on and Mineral Creek. There won't be any snow in August.