• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 27s

74-year-old Mount Marathon competitor races against time

By KTVA CBS 11 News Photojournalist: John Thain - 6:56 AM July 1, 2014

Every Fourth of July weekend, thousands of people flood into Seward to see a 100-year-old bar bet play out on the town’s most famous mountain.

The Mount Marathon Race started back in the early 1900s.

Legend says two sailors made a bet that no man could run up and down the mountain in under an hour. Today, 600 brave runners race the 3.1-mile race straight up and down the rock and many of them will, in fact, do it under an hour.

Meet one of the event’s legendary athletes.

High above the town of Seward a 74-year-old man climbs the bluff of Mount Marathon. Like the brand of his boots, Fred Moore is Xtratuf. He’s a carpenter by trade, but mountain goat by choice. He’s climbed this rock no less than 1,000 times.

“I have a motto,” he said. “Don’t get muddy, don’t get bloody and don’t let them see you looking tired.”

Moore has set so many records on this mountain, he can’t remember all of them. His favorite?

The most consecutive Mount Marathon Races — this year will be his 45th. He remembers every race, including his first in 1969.

“The entry fee was one dollar and that was just a deposit on the cloth number bib you would wear in the race,” he said.

Watching Moore climb the 3,022 feet straight up the unforgiving rock is like watching a gazelle. He knows every root, every rock and every angle of the mountain. And when he descends, his graceful maneuvers impress elite athletes half his age.

You might wonder, while most men his age are just finding they have a favorite chair, what makes Moore run? About 2,200 feet up the mountain, Moore points out his inspiration — a small spruce tree growing up from the side of the rock.

“It’s about 1,000 feet higher on the mountain than any other tree,” he said.

Out of rock and dirt grows this tiny mass of branches. It doesn’t look that impressive, but like Moore, it’s a survivor.

It’s here Moore finds the strength to keep climbing.

It’s not the competition, the race or even the tradition that keeps Moore going.

“I’m not competitive, I don’t even like competition, what really drives me here isn’t the competition,” he said. “It’s just when I do something, whatever it is, I like to do it well.”

The humble climber has one simple reason that keeps him putting one foot in front of the other, year after year, day after day.

“I don’t want to feel useless,” he said.

As if anyone could accuse him of being lazy. Moore knows he can beat just about anyone on the mountain. He’s not interested. Moore is in a race with something intangible. He’s sprinting against time. A race that so far he’s winning.

Moore holds the record for the best time in the 70-79 age group. He ran the 3.1 mile race in 1 hour, 7 minutes and 9 seconds.

Latest Stories

  • News

    North Korea launches short-range ballistic missile, U.S. military says

    by CBS News on May 28, 19:06

    North Korea on Sunday launched a short-range ballistic missile, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the launch. This is the ninth missile test North Korea has […]

  • Living on water: Welcome to Freedom Cove

    by CBS News on May 28, 19:02

    While many people have made a houseboat their abode, Lee Cowan has found a designing couple who’s taken the idea of waterborne living even further: Wayne Adams rarely sets a foot on dry land … not even when he makes his way home to his wife, Catherine King, because their home ebbs and flows with […]

  • The hottest pepper in the world? Beware the ‘Dragon’s Breath’

    by CBS News on May 28, 18:58

    Farmers in Wales may have the world’s hottest chili pepper on their hands, according to British media reports. Mike Smith reportedly grew a chili pepper that smashes all previous heat records — all by accident. Smith said he never intended to breed a particularly spicy pepper and he doesn’t even like foods with heat, The […]

  • News

    Alcohol suspected in serious Seward Highway crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 16:06

    The Seward Highway was completely closed in both directions for about five hours overnight following a crash at mile 76 near Portage Glacier Road. The crash occurred sometime just before 11 p.m. and the road finally reopened to traffic around 4 a.m. Anchorage Police say a northbound BMW crossed over into the oncoming traffic late […]

  • News

    1 dead in head-on Glenn Highway collision

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:59

    The Anchorage Police Department’s Traffic Unit is trying to determine what caused an SUV to lose control and cause a fatal crash Saturday. About 15 minutes after midnight Saturday morning, APD says a Chevy Suburban inbound on the Glenn Highway lost control, crossed the center median and struck a Ford Focus head-on. The driver of […]

  • News

    Pedestrian struck, killed on Gambell

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:54

    Anchorage Police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian. Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, a late model Chevy Malibu traveling southbound on Gambell Street struck a pedestrian. Police say the pedestrian, who has not yet been identified, was in the roadway outside of a crosswalk when he was hit. The man was taken to […]

  • Politics

    On first day back, Trump lashes out at ‘fake news media’

    by CBS News on May 28, 14:44

    WASHINGTON — Hours after returning from his first trip abroad as president, President Trump tweeted Sunday morning about “fake news media” and White House leaks. “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Mr. Trump said in a series […]

  • News

    US official mulling greatly expanding airplane laptop ban

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:30

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he’s considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States. That would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. The current ban was […]