Matias Saari

Matias Saari, seen here competing in the Matanuska Peak Challenge, has been named the Mount Marathon race director.

Seward’s famous Mount Marathon Race has hired Matias Saari to be its race director.

Saari, an Anchorage runner and race organizer, is the first individual race director of the renowned event since 2004.

For the last 15 years, MMR has been directed by staff from the Seward Chamber of Commerce Conference and Visitors Bureau, which owns and funds the race. The Mount Marathon Race Committee also helps manage the high-profile event and creates the rules.

“Managing the event’s popularity, the race course’s unique terrain and the sheer numbers of volunteers and spectators requires a dedicated employee” said Karol Fink, a long-time committee member and race participant. “The committee is looking forward to working with Matias as we streamline our race operations.”

Saari will now oversee the race operations while working with both the Seward Chamber and MMR committee.

“I have a passion for Mount Marathon and look forward to helping improve what is already a great race for participants, spectators, sponsors, volunteers and organizers,” Saari said. “Mount Marathon is an iconic and complex event with many moving parts.”

Saari is a 12-time Mount Marathon participant and the 2009 champion. He also directs the Crow Pass Crossing, Kesugi Ridge Traverse and Tour of Anchorage ski and bike races and is a board member for Alaska Mountain Runners. He works as the event support coordinator for the nonprofit Healthy Futures organization.

The 93rd running of Mount Marathon, the oldest mountain race in the country, will be Saturday July 4, 2020. Each Independence Day, thousands of spectators flood the small Kenai Peninsula town of Seward to watch the spectacle on the streets and on the steep and technical mountain. About 850 runners participate annually in separate events for men, women and juniors.

Saari welcomes feedback and can be reached by email at MMRdirector@seward.com

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