Sunday, September 24, 2023 • Kenai, AK • Course Map
The majestic scenery of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, with snow-capped mountain peaks reflected in the brilliant blue waters of Cook Inlet, is on display at the annual early autumn running of the Kenai River Marathon, Half Marathon & Relay, a race that’s open to both runners and walkers.
The course for the race takes participants on an out-and-back loop course along the Unity Trail that connects Kenai with the nearby town of Soldotna, which lies right on the Kenai River and is famed for its river fishing as well as for hiking, camping and just enjoying Alaska’s wild outdoors.
From the starting line near the office of the Kenai Convention & Visitors Bureau on Overland Avenue, the half marathon (like the full marathon and relay) starts runners and walkers off with a quick stretch through the downtown city streets, with turns on Mission Avenue, Main Street, Broad Street and Frontage Road before turning left and heading north along Willow Street.
The route then turns right and heads south along Airport Highway and Walker Lane to Beaver Loop Road, which those running the half marathon then follow as its heads southward and then curves around northward back up toward Spur Highway, where it meets the Unity Trail.
A more than 20-mile-long trail for cyclists, runners, walkers, joggers and inline skaters that connects Kenai with Soldotna, the Unity Trail serves as the path for much of the full marathon, and those running the half follow it for the next four miles of the race, as the course takes them back into downtown Kenai for the finish line back at the Convention and Visitors Bureau office.
While the half marathon doesn’t cross it, runners and walkers will get a chance to see the Kenai River off in the distance as well as the mountains that surround the local area.
By most larger-race standards, the Kenai River Marathon, Half Marathon & Relay is definitely a smaller event, drawing usually a couple to a few hundred runners and walkers each year.
Race Weather & Climate
Located in southern Alaska, overlooking the waters of the Cook Inlet and about a three-hour drive from Anchorage to its northeast, the city of Kenai typically experiences moderately cool to occasionally cold weather conditions in the early fall, and usually sees its wettest weather of the year in the month the race is held.
On race day (Sept. 24), the average low is 36ºF and the average high is 51ºF.
- 2022 Results
- 2019 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2018 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2017 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2016 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2015 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2014 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2013 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2012 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 2011 Kenai River Half Marathon Results
- 9:00 AM – full marathon, half marathon
- 10:15 AM- 5K
- $55 – $65 for the half marathon
To reserve your spot in the 2023 running of the Kenai River Marathon, Half Marathon & 4-Person Relay, register online at Active.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Kenai River Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.