• 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

  • Sports

    LSU fires head football coach Les Miles

    by Associated Press on Sep 25, 22:49

    Les Miles has finally been done in by one of the frantic finishes that came to define the Mad Hatter’s tenure at LSU. LSU fired Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Sunday, and promoted defensive line coach Ed Orgeron to interim head coach. The moves came less than 24 hours after Miles briefly watched his […]

  • Sports

    Baseball mourns death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez

    by CBS/AP on Sep 25, 22:42

    Miami Marlins players have gathered at the team’s ballpark to grieve together following the death of teammate Jose Fernandez. The 24-year-old pitcher and two of his friends were killed when their boat smashed into a jetty off Miami Beach early today. Authorities say the 32-foot boat was demolished when it hit the rocks at full speed. […]

  • News

    Mall victims include teen, probation officer, Boeing worker

    by Associated Press on Sep 25, 18:53

    Five people died in the shooting at a Macy’s store in a mall north of Seattle. Authorities do not plan to make their identities public until Tuesday, but details about three of the victims have been reported by Washington state media. Here’s what is known about them: ___ SARAI LARA: The 16-year-old high school sophomore […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Grass roots’ group works to make Hatcher Pass ski area a reality

    by Eric Ruble on Sep 25, 18:25

    At mile 10.6 of Hatcher Pass Road, one can see the birth of Alaska’s newest ski area. For decades, groups have tried to bring a ski area to the Valley. Now, one team of volunteers is hoping to make it a reality. “I have two little kids and I’m a big skier, and I would […]

  • News

    Charlotte mayor lifts curfew on the city after days of protests

    by CBS/AP on Sep 25, 18:12

    The mayor of Charlotte has lifted the curfew on the city after days of protests over the killing of a black man by police. There have been protests every day since 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death by Charlotte police on Tuesday. In a statement Sunday evening, Mayor Jennifer Roberts says that effective immediately the […]

  • Sports

    Arnold Palmer dies at 87, made golf popular for masses

    by Associated Press on Sep 25, 17:46

    Arnold Palmer brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. At ease with both presidents and the golfing public, and on a first-name basis with both, “The King,” died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 87. Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday […]

  • News

    Cedar Rapids residents evacuate homes ahead of flooding in Iowa

    by CBS/AP on Sep 25, 16:07

    Residents are leaving low-lying areas of Cedar Rapids, adhering to a request by authorities to clear out by 8 p.m. Sunday due to the risk of flooding from the rising Cedar River. The river crested Saturday night in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, which are about 55 miles upstream from Cedar Rapids, which is Iowa’s second-largest city, with about […]

  • News

    Family heirlooms “fill vast silences” at new African American museum

    by CBS News on Sep 25, 13:14

    At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, thousands of great Americans are represented by priceless family heirlooms, donated to help them museum to share their experiences. Among them is the freedom paper donated by 83-year-old Elaine Thompson. It belonged to her great, great, great grandfather, Joseph Trammell of Loudon County, Virginia, reports […]