The Prince of Wales Island Marathon is a destination race for both runners and walkers in Southeast Alaska. We are the race venue for those seeking a challenge and stunning scenery in a unique locale.
Our out-and-back course starts at the backdrop of the Sunnahae Mountain at Craig High School and heads north along the Klawock Channel, through the village of Klawock, turning left at the Native clan house, and proceeding along Boundary Road, which turns into Big Salt Lake Highway, and affords views of some of our most majestic lakes, clear streams, and muskeg areas. The middle, more mountainous portion of the full marathon course presents challenges, but equally inspires participants with Southeast Alaska’s natural beauty. The out-and-back half marathon course follows the full marathon course but does not venture into this more mountainous portion. Wildlife sightings are not uncommon on race day. Aid stations on the course will close at 4:00 p.m. on race day. The Prince of Wales Island Marathon is the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles and is USATF certified, #AK14007FW. Race times may be used as time qualifiers for the Boston Marathon.
There are fifteen aid stations located along the out-and-back marathon course, providing intensive support in the form of hydration as well as lemon drops, fruit, other forms of nutrition, along with an abundance of moral support and good cheer. Aid stations are also supplied with basic first aid supplies and clothing drop bags. Aid stations compete for our coveted traveling trophy each year, making their efforts to serve all participants go way beyond that proverbial extra mile. Support vans constantly cover the course and provide rides to relay participants along with other needed support. Four EMT crews are on the course throughout the day to address more intensive medical needs.
The race starts and finishes at Craig High School. Participants may partake of a free grilled hamburger/salmon feed along with other finish line food items from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Meals may be purchased by nonparticipants. Our homemade cookie station and the opportunity to purchase post-race massages will also be available. A display board will exhibit finishers’ bib tags by race category, designating name and race time.
Prince of Wales Island is located within the temperate Tongass National Rain Forest, providing excellent running and walking conditions. Typically, temperatures at the start of the race are in the low fifties and may even climb up to the mid-sixties by early afternoon. One race day did provide us with temperatures that reached the low eighties by mid-afternoon – a truly rare experience. Rain is always a possibility; however, partial sun, cloudy skies, and light mists have more often been experienced on race day.
Prince of Wales Island is part of the Alexander Archipelago in the southernmost portion of the Alaska panhandle and is the third largest island in the United States. Our island is 135 miles long and 40 miles across. Its 900 miles of coastline has numerous bays, coves, inlets and points. The landscape is characterized by steep forested mountains and deep U-shaped valleys that were carved by glacial ice that once covered this area. It is a lush rain forest environment, with summer temperatures that range from 45 to 75 degrees F; yearly precipitation averages from 60 to 120 inches, based on the exact locale.
The most prevalent mammals in the area are black bears, wolves, Sitka blacktail deer, martens, river otters, sea lions, seals and beaver. One of the most thrilling birds is the bald eagle, and the trickster raven makes many appearances also. Many species of whales are in the surrounding waters. Our island’s surrounding waters are also recognized as a prime fishing spot where king salmon, cohos, sockeye salmon, dog salmon, and halibut may be caught. Stream fishing is also popular, along with hiking, kayaking, camping, and photography.
Great run… lots of coordination required
-difficulty: not steep hills… but lots of them! Elevation pic for half uploaded - scenery: was great! Mostly along a coast line. Would have been better if it wasn’t raining. … MORE
-difficulty: not steep hills… but lots of them! Elevation pic for half uploaded
– scenery: was great! Mostly along a coast line. Would have been better if it wasn’t raining. But I won’t hold that against them🙃
-swag: got a insulated drawstring bag with a toiletries (toothbrush, hand sanitizer, muscle cream, Vaseline, chapstick, bandaids, nail file, hand soap paper), canned salmon, post card and luggage tag. Out of staters will get a coin. Shirt is long sleeve tech shirt. Finishers get medal and pin. After meal was a slice of pizza and trail mix, Gatorade, fruit, bagels, PB. I was told there was less this yr than others.
– ok… organization. Organization for the run itself was not lacking. But I think for being an island that takes a LOT of coordination to get to, they could have done better helping out of Towners with coordination. I saw multiple folks walking to the run… from 2-5 miles away. In addition, for those that came in on the ferry … cabs were like $80 to get from ferry to area of run as many stated they couldn’t find rental cars. Everyone who travels knows costs accumulate. But for here- there isn’t just costs, there’s lack of resources.
I rented a car in Ketchikan and put it on the ferry to have a vehicle here. Highly advised. Plus then you can explore the island!!
Over all I would love to do it again, and would suggest anyone do it ONLY if you have transportation. I would not recommend it otherwise as I don’t think you can get the true experience if the race weekends and island. Community was great!!! Just needs transportation coordination
Forget Mayor's...do this race
My favorite US race. As an out-of-towner, treatment is second to none. You get a "welcome mat." They pick a spirit animal, then someone in town colors in the spirit … MORE
My favorite US race. As an out-of-towner, treatment is second to none. You get a “welcome mat.” They pick a spirit animal, then someone in town colors in the spirit animal with your name and hometown. The goody bag is a real goody bag. This year it was a dry bag (waterproof) filled with all kinds of stuff. The scenery was spectacular. But it is a tough race, uphill on the way out and rollers when it isn’t uphill. Post race “snack” was salmon or a burger with salads and desert. The winners got hand crafted wood paddles. They had an ice cream social with door prizes for those who could stay around. You got one ticket for running and could buy more. The drawing took almost an hour they had so much to give away. And the people couldn’t have been nicer. They made me feel like I was a local. I really think because of the location (it is definitely hard to get to, the last leg into Klawok is via a single engine Cessna Caravan or the ferry) they are looking for any excuse to have a party. Anyway, this is a great race!!!
The scenery is stunning. However it is a challenge to get to this race. It was a very delightful race but has the feel of a small town 5K. MORE
The scenery is stunning. However it is a challenge to get to this race. It was a very delightful race but has the feel of a small town 5K.
A must do, especially for 50 Staters
My second time to POW for the marathon. This is not easy to get to, but an absolute must for anyone looking to check off Alaska or just in the … MORE
My second time to POW for the marathon. This is not easy to get to, but an absolute must for anyone looking to check off Alaska or just in the mood for a destination race. The community and organization are second to none.