2024 Race Information
BIB PICKUP & SAFETY MEETING
The Bib pickup & Safety Meeting will be on Thursday, July 18 at Chain Reaction Cycles, 1148 Huffman Rd., Anchorage.
Regardless of where they live, this Safety Meeting is mandatory for first-time Crow Pass racers and recommended for veteran Crow Pass racers.
Only veteran racers from the Kenai Peninsula or north of Palmer (or other veteran racers with extenuating circumstances who inform the race director) may request to pick up their bib from 7:30-8:45 a.m. at the Girdwood Trailhead on race day.
– Parking is extremely tight at the Girdwood start; please carpool as much as possible.
– The parking lot is of course open to the general public, for which spots must remain available.
– It is the responsibility of the racers to arrange transportation to the Girdwood Trailhead. The ideal situation is to have a driver drop off a full car of racers at the start, and then depart!
– It is the responsibility of the racers to arrange transportation from the Eagle River Nature Center finish line. Organizers will help to facilitate carpools if necessary at the finish line.
– Consult the roster at Ultrasignup to see who is entered and try to arrange a carpool. If you are in a bind, contact the race director for assistance in finding a ride.
– Make sure to arrive at the start with enough time to get organized before the race, but not earlier than 7:30 a.m.. The trailhead takes about 20 minutes to reach from the start of Crow Creek Road, which is almost 6 miles long and in rough condition.
– If your shuttle driver is not a racer, have them drop your group off and then depart so they don’t fill a parking spot.
– Do not park on the narrow road just below the Girdwood parking lot. There are a handful of spots at a pullout near the lower bridge where parking is allowed.
– If the trailhead lot is full, a parking attendant may require that your group get dropped off at the lower bridge and travel to 1 mile to the trailhead on foot. We will attempt to have volunteers shuttle racers this final mile if necessary.
– At the Eagle River Nature Center, parking attendants will guide you to a spot in the main lot or one of the overflow lots.
– Our permit requires that the US Forest Service-Girdwood Ranger Station is satisfied with our parking plan and race-day parking operations.
– Parking is free at the Girdwood Trailhead. Parking at the Eagle River Nature Center costs $5; please support the center and pay this fee.
RACE DAY SCHEDULE on Saturday, July 20
- 7:30 – 8:45 a.m. — Random spot checks of to ensure all mandatory gear is packed. Bib pickup for those with extenuating circumstances.
- 8:55 a.m. — Line up at start for final announcements and safety briefing
- 9 a.m. — Mass start (men and women combined)
- 10:00 a.m. — Cutoff time at the Pass Checkpoint
- 12 p.m. for men, 12:30 for women (give or take) — First finishers expected
- 2 p.m. – Awards Ceremony (overall and age group)
- 3 p.m. — Finish cutoff time of 6 hours for official result
REGISTRATION, WAIT LIST & COMPLIMENTARY ENTRIES
– Race entry is $75 (this does not include the registration fee).
– Registration is first-come, first served. Registration opens at 9 a.m. Alaska time on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 and closes at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 18. A waitlist will open once capacity is reached with qualified entrants.
– 150 spots will be filled (the race capacity is 150). Only those with an approved qualifier may register. If there is a question about your qualifier, email the race director before attempting to sign up.
– A waitlist will open once registration fills with qualified racers. Race hopefuls may join the waitlist without a qualifier, but will NOT be offered a race spot until they have achieved one. Waitlisters will be offered entry as spots become available and are expected to accept or decline within 36 hours. Don’t give up hope! Most years we blow through the entire waitlist — though many of the invitations come during race week so patience (and faith) is imperative.
– 5 or more additional spots may be filled by the race director for sponsors, volunteers, elite racers or others.
– Age group winners (29 & Under, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-69) will receive free entry the following year provided they register before capacity is reached. Age group winners should sign up using the email from the previous year’s registration to redeem their complimentary entry.
– Entrants who decide not to race should notify the race director as early as possible so that a waitlister can gain entry.
– No refunds are given (Healthy Futures is a nonprofit and the event is a fundraiser)
To be admitted as a 2024 Crow Pass entrant, you must have achieved at least one of the following:
1) Completed a technical trail race (not a road race) in Alaska of 14 miles or longer since 2021 at a pace of 15 minutes per mile or faster. (If the Lost Lake Run is your qualifier, you must have finished in under 3 hours; for the Matanuska Peak Challenge, under 5:45).
2) OR Completed the entire Crow Pass trail in less than 6 hours elapsed time (racing or training) since 2020.
3) OR Completed a comparable technical trail event outside of Alaska since 2021 (at a pace of 15 minutes per mile or faster) by emailing proof of your participation to the race director for potential approval.
– Our definition of a “technical trail race” is a course that for its majority includes rocks, roots and other obstacles and an average 100 feet of vertical gain per mile and an average 100 feet of descent per mile.
– If you are unsure whether your qualifier is valid, email race director Matias Saari at email@example.com
– Entrants must be 18 years old on race day (16- and 17-year-olds with strong credentials may petition the race director; no one age 15 or younger will be considered)
– There are plenty of long races in Alaska and elsewhere; it should not be hard to find one to use as your Crow Pass qualifier. However, In some circumstances a 14+-mile training run on technical trail can replace a race as an acceptable qualifier.
1) Windbreaker or rain jacket
2) Long-sleeved shirt
3) Long leg layer
4) Winter hat (no ballcaps)
6) Water container
7) Race bib
* Gear must be accessible.
* Gear must be appropriate for the conditions (if it’s blowing and raining sideways, don’t bring a flimsy windbreaker).
* Arm warmers plus a short-sleeved shirt are NOT allowable as a replacement for a long-sleeved shirt.
* High socks and long shorts are NOT allowable as a replacement for a long leg layer.
* Bear spray is recommended but not required.
* Headphones are strongly discouraged as they can distract a racer from their surroundings and potential hazards.
* Gear will be checked randomly among racers before the race start; those lacking any gear will not be allowed to start.
* Racers are also subject to spot checks at the finish; a participant missing any mandatory gear there is subject to disqualification.
– 60 minutes is the cutoff for the Crow Pass Checkpoint, which is 3.5 miles and about 2,200 feet of vertical gain from the start. Anyone who misses the cutoff will be expected to give up their bib number and return to the trailhead. A racer than continues may be barred from future Crow Pass races.
– 6 hours is the finish line cutoff. Anyone who finishes beyond 6 hours will be listed as an unofficial finisher.
-There is also a checkpoint at the Eagle River Ford Site. That location has no time cut-off, but participants must cross at the designated site and be checked off by volunteers there.
– Crow Pass is a remote trail with minimal support and racers have an ethic of personal responsibility for their safety. Racers are expected to take care of themselves and assist others in need.
– Potential rescues are difficult, if not impossible, to execute depending on location.
– The Crow Pass checkpoint crew and river crossing checkpoint crew will have a communication device in case of emergency.
– In 2024, 2-person Alaska Mountain Rescue Crews will be stationed at the following locations: Raven Gorge (Mile 6.2); at the Eagle River Ford crossing (they are positioned with throw ropes); and Icicle Creek (about 5 miles from the finish). AMRG crews will be outfitted with VHF radios and satellite texting devices in case of emergency. These locations are preliminary and subject to change.
– A two-person sweep crew will follow the final racer(s).
– Cell phone service along the trail is extremely limited and not to be relied upon.
– Be aware of wildlife such as bear and moose and know how to act if encountering wildlife at close range or from a distance; carrying bear spray (and knowing how to use it) is recommended. Wearing headphones is strongly discouraged as they can distracts from a racer’s surroundings and potential hazards.
– Racers are encouraged to assist one another at the main river crossing and other creek crossings by locking arms while crossing; safety personnel are not assigned to escort anyone across the river or creeks but will attempt to aid a racer in case of emergency.
– There are no official aid stations along the course. Racers must be self-sufficient.
– Racers ARE ALLOWED to receive aid (food, drink or medical) from spectators or others along the course. Racers are NOT allowed to be paced by non-racers.
– Aid may not be stashed for retrieval on race day.
– Refreshments (including pizza and cold beverages) will be provided at the finish line.
– The indoor area of the Eagle River Nature Center, including restrooms, should NOT be used by racers. A portapotty will be available as well as a hose for rinsing off. (There will also be two portapotties at the start).
There are none (other than a few in the first 3.5 miles of the course as required by the US Forest Service). However, there is a main trail that racers are expected to follow. Learning the course in training will be of great benefit for staying on course on race day.
– Any man or women who breaks the course record will win $500 (if more than one person breaks the record, only the winner earns $500). The current course records are Scott Patterson’s 2:50:05 (from 2021) and Christy Marvin’s 3:25:52 (from 2022).
– All 2023 age-group winners earn free entry for 2024. The age groups are 29 & under, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60-69.
– Awards will be given for the top 5 overall and top 3 in each age group.
– An awards ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. on race day outdoors at the Eagle River Nature Center.
– In August, all racers will receive a t-shirt that lists finishing times; Healthy Futures will hold a t-shirt pickup event at a date to be announced.
STAY ON TRAIL POLICY
The Crow Pass Crossing has for 38 years followed an unmarked trail, which is part of its charm and challenge. That has not changed under Healthy Futures’ directorship. We believe that those who scout the trail and train on it deserve the reward of learning routes that may save them a few seconds as well as keep them from losing the trail. However, some participants have taken liberties with their route choices, so we feel the need to lay some basic ground rules. Essentially our only rule is that runners must be on an established trail at all times. This doesn’t have to be the main trail, but it does need to be a clearly defined existing trail. This isn’t just our requirement: our permits with the US Forest Service and Chugach State Park stipulate that runners stay on trail. That means they can not go off trail over tundra, cut switchbacks, bushwhack through the forest, follow old trails that authorities have attempted to block off, go swimming to regain a trail they have intentionally shortened, create new trails or run on river bars. Running on off-trail river bars has perhaps been the most common transgression. We are not seeking to disqualify or penalize anyone, but we also want a fair race where runners more or less follow a similar trail. Therefore, all we require is that runners stay on a trail, and not blatantly diverge from trails because it’s fun or they seek to gain an advantage.
– Healthy Futures proudly assumed Crow Pass Crossing directorship from the University of Alaska Anchorage running program in 2018.
– Healthy Futures is dedicated to empowering Alaska’s youth to build the daily habit of physical activity; it is the signature program of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
– Crow Pass race proceeds help fund Healthy Futures’ programs.
– Learn more about Healthy Futures at healthyfuturesak.org. Learn more about the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame at alaskasportshall.org
– $5 of every race entry is donated to the Eagle River Nature Center (https://www.ernc.org/).
Most race questions can be answered by reading the website. We’ll also send out at least two informational emails in the weeks leading up to the race. For those with additional questions, email race co-director Matias Saari at firstname.lastname@example.org
We could not do this race without volunteers!
If you can volunteer on the course, at the start or at the finish, please contact race co-director Matias Saari at email@example.com
Volunteers will be listed on the race t-shirt along with racers and sponsors.