Event Details

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, mink, 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.

POW Marathon from the air.
POW Marathon on the ground.

Course Description
Our out-and-back course starts at the backdrop of the Sunnahae Mountain at Craig High School (map) 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.

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.

Registration Policy
Early bird registration closes April 15. After April 15, full registration fees come into effect. In-person paper registrations will not be accepted. There is no registration at Friday’s packet pick up. Registration closes at midnight, Monday before the event. (Note the deadline change beginning in 2024.) The deadline for any category change is Monday before the event at 8 pm before the midnight registration deadline. All requests must be submitted via email. All race registrations are non-refundable.

Deferrals and Race Transfers
We have a no deferral policy. Participants may upgrade their registration to a longer distance or downgrade to a shorter distance by email request to Online Registration. Participants who request a category change will pay the difference in registration fees, between the two categories at the time of the registration change. A $5 fee will be accessed for all changes. If a participant is transferring into a distance that cost less than the initial registration fee paid, there will be no refunds for the price difference. To request a race transfer email Online Registration at [email protected]

Course Support
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.

Pre-Race Evening Spaghetti Dinner
Spaghetti dinner will be provided for racers (and the general public) the evening before the race. (More details soon to come.)

Race Start
All participants start at the Craig High School. Mandatory check-in opens at 7:00 a.m. in the high school lobby, where all may check their clothing, stretch, grab a cup of coffee, compare race strategies and pose for photos. Restrooms are also available.

Race Finish
The race finish is likewise at Craig High School, with the finish line closing at 4:00 p.m. Participants may enjoy free 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.

Relay Teams
Standard relay teams are composed of either four or eight persons, with plaques awarded to 1st – 3rd place standard relay teams. These relay teams must use designated aid station exchange points, as noted in the race booklet. All relay teams are strongly encouraged to recruit the necessary four or eight persons necessary to form a standard team. An open category is offered for those few teams that are unable to do this. No winners’ plaques are awarded in the open category. Local island schools form relay teams consisting of students in grades Kindergarten – 6th grade and are assigned exchange points at the aid stations 1, 3, 5, and 7. These young runners are a yearly highlight of our race as they cheer on ALL participants on the course. There is also one local Adult Alternative Aid Station Relay Walking Team which covers the course in the same manner. Please note: No participant will be allowed to participate on more than one team or in more than one race category. Participants may not switch race categories on race day. Any participant who attempts to do so will be disqualified.

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