The word “inspire” comes from the Latin root “inspiratus”, which means “to blow” or”breathe into”. This is what Irene Webber did when she ran the first King Salmon Marathon, alone, in 1986. With her perseverance and enthusiasm, she created an event in which all of us have been inspired to take part. Her motto “See you on the road!” means just that, as she encourages others to live a healthier life.
Our Alaska Salmon Runs honor the salmon, the keystone species of our daily lives in this commercial fishing village and the anchor of our surrounding ecosystem. Cordova is surrounded by extraordinary ecosystems that combine to form one of the world’s most spectacular natural environments and host to a thriving wild salmon migration. The race course traverses the Copper River delta where runners are treated to soaring views of mountains being carved by glaciers, wildflowers, and blue water rivers and lakes.
The race course is mostly flat (we’re at sea level), and follows the old Copper River railroad route which led to the Kennicott Copper mines. The marathon starts at 27 mile bridge – one of the many bridges that span the Copper River. The first half of the course is gravel road – with little to no traffic. Because the area is still wild, moose and bear are occasionally encountered. For safety and water support, marathoners will be followed by a vehicle. Runners pass the “Mudhole Smith” airport at mile 13. Paved road then spans the Copper River delta, lined with beautiful wildflowers, including lupine, nagoonberry, fireweed, and Alaska’s State flower, the forget-me-not. The last 10km, are run along the blue waters of Eyak Lake. June temperatures range from low 50s – 75 F.
We now host participants from all over the world, and in one of Alaska’s most beautiful and friendliest communities. We have welcomed runners from Japan, Australia, Brazil, Norway, and several states in the continental U.S.A such as New York and Florida – plus many more. Some people come back year after year, and we hope that you will do the same. Our salmon runs are dedicated to the five species of salmon native to our area.
For a taste of Salmon Run history and fun, check out our new video!