• 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

  • Weather

    Nightcast Weather, March 27

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 27, 23:03

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Expecting decreasing clouds with showers along the eastern coasts and Prince William Sound.   Southeast Rain showers will continue with heaviest showers in the south.   Interior/North Slope It will be mostly cloudy by the afternoon in interior areas. Along the North Slope it will be mostly cloudy with some light […]

  • Politics

    ASD, state lawmakers spar over budget concerns.

    by Joe Vigil on Mar 27, 22:51

    First state lawmakers fired off a letter criticizing Anchorage School Board members for passing a budget that included nearly $12 million cut by Gov. Bill Walker in January. Now the Anchorage School Board president is firing back with a letter of his own to state lawmakers. In that letter, Eric Croft says that while the district […]

  • News

    Amanda Knox grateful to ‘have my life back’ after court saga

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 21:25

        SEATTLE- Amanda Knox says she’s grateful “for the life that’s been given to me” after Italy’s highest court overturned her murder conviction in the slaying of her roommate. Speaking briefly Friday evening to reporters outside her mother’s Seattle home, Knox expressed her thanks “for the justice I’ve received and for the support I’ve […]

  • News

    House panel moves bill addressing municipal marijuana regs

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 21:19

    A bill addressing how municipalities regulate marijuana businesses has moved out of a House committee. The House Judiciary Committee moved a new version of Rep. Cathy Tilton’s bill, which would help define a municipality’s role in regulating marijuana businesses, set a maximum household limit of 24 marijuana plants and add marijuana clubs to the list […]

  • News

    Young geography whizzes compete for state title

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 27, 21:11

    Young geography whizzes in Alaska and across the county competed on Friday for a spot in the 27th annual National Geographic Bee. Fourth through eighth graders spent months studying, preparing to get the questions right and proved themselves as the top student in their school. The winner, seventh grader Ben Ng from Juneau’s Floyd Dryden […]

  • News

    House passes bill designating day to honor Alaska elders

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 27, 20:41

    The Alaska House of Representatives has passed a bill designating the winter solstice as a day of honor for elders all across the state. Representatives across the board voted to pass House Bill 142 Friday, with only three excluded votes. The bill’s aim is to “honor the positive effect of Alaska elders on the generations […]

  • Crime

    Pastor sentenced to 10 years in prison for child pornography

    by Dave Leval on Mar 27, 20:24

    Ronald Rathbun Sr has helped counsel inmates. The pastor will continue to do that, but as one of them. Rathbun will spend 10 years in prison, a sentence handed down to the 58-year-old Friday. He pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in December. Alaska State Troopers arrested Rathbun at his home in November 2013. They […]

  • News

    Bean’s Cafe clients pitch in for cleanup

    by Lauren Maxwell on Mar 27, 17:43

    The area around Bean’s Café and the Brother Francis Shelter is looking a lot brighter after clients picked up 420 pounds of garbage Friday morning. The clean-up included removing a few items left on Karluk Street where people have been camping on the sidewalk for months. Police said most of the campers had moved on […]