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July 10, 2023 Karen Lewis

Braving the Elements for a Glacier Race in the Wilderness

Early last month KMTA hosted our 3rd Annual Spencer Dash! The weather was not a sure bet this year but that didn’t stop fifty-seven stalwart souls from braving the elements. Hosted in partnership with Chugach Adventures and the Alaska Railroad, the race followed the Spencer Glacier Overlook Trail and the path of the glacier’s recession over the last hundred years. Even in the rain, the glacier’s beauty was on full display throughout the event, leaving a lasting impression on everyone there. 

The race weekend started with a team of KMTA staff and volunteers heading out to Spencer Glacier on Saturday afternoon to camp and set up the race course. This crew of overnight campers enjoyed a peaceful, sunny day of race prep before the rain and wind rolled in over the evening. Luckily the wind died down by morning, making it a wet but calm race day.

When the remaining racers arrived by train the next day, their enthusiasm remained high despite the sprinkling rain. Following a swift check-in process, warm welcome, and safety briefing, we marked a start line in the dirt and officially began the race with a countdown. The five-mile course started at the Spencer Whistle Stop, continued past Spencer Lake to the end of the trail, and looped back to finish at the boat launch near Chugach Adventures Base Camp.  

Shortly after arranging the snack and SWAG table, our first finishers crossed the finish line, mere seconds apart. Maddie Schuh emerged as the top overall and female finisher, completing the race in an impressive time of 35:23, while Brian Dennehy claimed the top male finisher title, finishing in 35:29. Each of them was awarded a gift card to REI, along with this year’s race swag—a Spencer Dash mini dry bag.  

The Spencer Dash was once again an absolute blast, and we eagerly anticipate next year’s event. It’s such a privilege to put on this race every year. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the runners who came out, our resolute volunteers, Chugach Adventures, and the Alaska Railroad for their incredible support and tireless efforts in making this race possible. We are truly grateful for your partnership and for being an integral part of our heritage area community.