Even if you not a running enthusiast – and I certainly am not — there’s something about the Mt. Marathon Race in Seward on July 4th that draws you in.

Maybe it’s because there are so many variables. The Mt. Marathon racecourse ranges between three and three-and-a-half miles, depending on the route you take.

About a thousand runners scramble up a steep and jagged mountain that’s almost three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

Each contestant is a winner. Each has a story to tell and, unfortunately, KTVA’s John Thain had time to capture only a few. But boy, they are inspiring.

John is that rare combination of photojournalist who not only captures the story on video but writes and edits it too.

Even the racers were impressed as John ran along with them to shoot his footage. So if your 4th of July plans do not include Mt. Marathon, you can experience the sights and sounds of some of the challenges through John’s storytelling.

Some of this week’s highlights:

  • GUTS AND GLORY. John Thain gets a tour of Mt. Marathon from Flip Foldager, who knows this race about as well as anyone can. He’s 60 and has climbed it since he was a kid. You’ll see why Mt. Marathon is more than just a race.
  • AGE IS MORE THAN A NUMBER. John Thain profiles Chad Resari who, at 81, remains a dedicated Mt. Marathon runner.
  • FAST AND FEARLESS. John Thain also follows Rennick Heatwole on a training run. Rennick, who is 12, has very limited vision – yet he is undaunted by the dangers of the race.
  • FEATURED GUESTS: When race veterans Holly Brooks and Clint McCool describe the challenges of running Mt. Marathon, you feel like you’re there. On Frontiers, they size up this year’s competition and share their passion for the race. Holly and Clint will also co-host this year’s live coverage with KTVA’s Dave Goldman and Emily Carlson, who will join team after she finishes her own Mt. Marathon run.

You can watch Mt. Marathon live on KTVA-Channel 11. Our coverage begins with the women’s race at 11:00 a.m. Tune in at 2:00 p.m. for the men’s race.

GCI Cable Channel 907 will also carry our televised race coverage, as well as three CBS affiliates in Southeast Alaska: KXLJ in Juneau, KTNL in Sitka and KUBD in Ketchikan.

The men’s and women’s  races will be streamed live on our website, KTVA.com. The Junior’s Race is at 9:00 a.m., in which the boys and girls run together and will be streamed on the KTVA Facebook page. We have 15 cameras on the mountain, so it’s a chance to get a sneak preview of some of the great coverage ahead.