• 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

  • Politics

    House rules out survivor benefits for slain peace officers, governor ponders alternative

    by Liz Raines on May 04, 23:08

    House Speaker Mike Chenault ruled out an amendment to a criminal justice reform bill — Senate Bill 91 — that would have provided continued healthcare benefits for families of slain peace officers, killed in the line of duty. Amendment one was introduced by Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux Wednesday, the third day of discussion on the bill. […]

  • News

    Missing West Anchorage girl may be on longboard, police say

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 04, 23:01

    Anchorage police are looking for a girl last seen leaving her West Anchorage home Wednesday evening. Police say 12-year-old Tia Lowdermilk left home around 5:30 p.m. and may be traveling on her longboard. They say there is concern for her wellbeing. Tia is 5-feet-5-inches tall and weighs roughly 135 pounds, according to police. She was […]

  • Lifestyle

    Lose weight without diet or exercise? Try freezing fat cells away

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 04, 21:05

    Most of us have a part of our bodies we don’t love — maybe a pudgy place that diet and exercise just can’t seem to ever reach. One Anchorage salon says they have the answer for that. It’s a procedure called CoolSculpting. Eileen Johnson, the practice manager at Solara Skin and Laser Center, said they’ve […]

  • Lifestyle

    Combing qiviut keeps staff busy at Musk Ox Farm

    by Heather Hintze on May 04, 20:55

    Musk ox at the farm in Palmer had a little help shedding their winter weight to get ready for summer. Staff at the nonprofit spend this time of year combing out qiviut—the soft undercoat that keeps musk ox warm on the frigid tundra in the wild. “When they’re ready, it’s like putting a hot knife through […]

  • Politics

    Alaska Republican Party reacts to Trump’s presumed nomination

    by Alexis Fernandez on May 04, 20:50

    With Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz out of the presidential race, the path to the Republican presidential nomination is clear for Donald Trump. But in Alaska, Republican voters are still divided on who should be the nominee. This past weekend, The Alaska Republican Party met in Fairbanks to address the candidates. Chairman […]

  • News

    Meet Odie, APD’s new tech sniffing police dog

    by Shannon Ballard on May 04, 19:17

    The Anchorage Police Department has a new investigative tool they think will make a big difference in the war against child porn. That tool is Odin, a two-year-old yellow lab who’s combating cyber crime with his nose. He is one of only 10 dogs in the world specially trained to sniff out chemicals found in electronic […]

  • News

    Biggest air bag recall in US history gets massively bigger

    by Kate Gibson / Money Watch on May 04, 18:38

    U.S. safety regulators on Wednesday more than doubled what was already the largest recall in U.S. history, adding an additional 35 million to 40 million Takata air bag inflators to the 28.8 million already in need of being replaced. These recall expansions are planned to take place in phases between May 2016 and December 2019, […]

  • News

    McCauley among finalists for education commissioner

    by Associated Press on May 04, 17:51

    Interim state education commissioner Susan McCauley is among the finalists for the commissioner’s post. The other finalists, announced by the state board of education Wednesday, are Michael Johnson, Stewart McDonald and Robert Boyle. Johnson is superintendent of the Copper River School District. McDonald is superintendent of the Kodiak Island Borough School District. Boyle is superintendent […]