Mat-Su Relay

The third annual Mat-Su Relay is Saturday.

WASILLA — North by Northwest Relays is hosting their third annual Mat-Su Relay Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m. The 50-mile race starts at Independence Mine and finishes at the Palmer Ale House.

Thirteen teams of six and one solo runner are registered to run the 50-mile course that concludes with beer and pizza served in the grassy concert area at the Palmer Alehouse.

North by Northwest Relays Race Director Nathan Luke noted there will be a separate concert later in the evening.

“Makes for a nice, fun, full day,” Luke said.

Luke said there will be a small awards ceremony recognizing men, women and mixed divisions in addition to handing out a prize basket from Active Soles to the best costume.

The Mat-Su Relay is one of Alaska’s few remaining running events in 2020, according to Luke. It’s one of North by Northwest’s three main relays of the year, and the only one that wasn’t cancelled due to COVID-19.

North by Northwest is based out of Wasilla. Luke said they held their first relay in 2016.

“Our goal is to put on large running events that are oriented towards teams,” Luke said. “There’s nothing quite like a relay event... It’s all sorts of fun and that’s our main goal.”

Luke said they created a laid back atmosphere that encourages people of all capabilities to try a long distance relay with their friends or family. He said that being on a team can push people to run harder than they thought they could.

“It’s a bucket list thing,” Luke said. “You have all your team members cheering you on… there’s just a different type of energy to help you through your running,” Luke said.

Registration is $550 per team. Luke said that a vast majority of teams dress up in costumes or some type of team outfit every year. He said they had a team last year composed of road construction workers called the Pavement Pounders that wore orange vests and other construction themed gear.

“They don’t have to do it if they don’t want to, but even the faster teams will come up with some kind of costume,” Luke said. “They have pretty free range on how they’re gonna name their teams, and some of them will create themes between their attire and team names,” Luke said.

The first team is expected to finish at the Palmer Ale House around 3 p.m. The public is invited to watch racers cross the finish line.

For more information, call 907-671-2005 or visit matsurelay.com.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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