Alaskans celebrate the summer solstice many different ways, including late night baseball games and lively city festivals. One favorite tradition is participating in the Midnight Sun Run, a 10K fun run in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Midnight Sun Run takes place every year on the third Saturday in June under the beautiful Midnight sun. The first Midnight Sun Run took place in 1983. The second race, in 1984, started the tradition of a late evening start and a costume contest for the race. Every year, several thousand people participate. Proceeds from the race are donated to the United Way of the Tanana Valley.
The race starts on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks then winds through the west side of town, finally ending in Pioneer Park. Participants can park their vehicles in the parking lot of Pioneer Park and then take a shuttle, provided by local tour companies, to the starting line on campus.
The Midnight Sun Run is a family event that makes physical activity a pleasure instead of a chore. Even if you choose to walk the race, the fun and festive atmosphere keeps it lively from start to finish. At the starting line, participants are treated to fun warm up activities from local fitness centers, and local radio deejays play music to get your adrenaline pumping. The race winds through several Fairbanks neighborhoods, where race participants are cheered on by lively crowds enjoying the event from the comfort of their front yard. Several homes are notorious for keeping runners cool by squirting them with water guns!
Perhaps the best part of the Midnight Sun Run is the costume contest. People dress up individually, but many choose to dress up in groups. Wedding parties, cartoon characters, and even Star Wars characters have been represented. According to the official website of the Midnight Sun Run, the first costume contest winners were a pair of guys who ran together as a canoe.
You can register for the race at select local businesses in the weeks leading up to the race. You can also download a registration form from the official website of the Midnight Sun Run, or register online at www.active.com. The results of the race are published by the Fairbanks News Miner in print and on their website.
Whether you’re visiting Fairbanks or enjoy living here year round, the Midnight Sun Run is a local tradition you can’t miss!