SEPTEMBER 3, 2019 — When the leaves start falling, Alaska kids start racing through the trails.
On several days this month, thousands of elementary students from Anchorage to Fairbanks will be running through the wooded trails during the annual Cross Country Jamborees and similar fun runs.
The Anchorage School District is organizing three running Jamborees, and the North Star Borough School District in Fairbanks is organizing four races. The Jamborees will wrap up by the end of September, but Anchorage parents and children will have weekly opportunities to keep running as a family through the end of October. The popular fall running tradition called the Tuesday Night Race series begins on Sept. 10, 2019. The series continues on different trail systems throughout Anchorage every Tuesday through Oct. 29, 2019.
Long history of fall fun runs in Anchorage
The free running Jamborees in Anchorage go back almost three decades. This year, the Anchorage School District Health and Physical Education (PE) Department will partner with the Healthy Futures program, Play Every Day, local athletes, and others to organize several Jamborees in North Anchorage, South Anchorage and the Beach Lake area of Eagle River. Several thousand Anchorage kids across the city are expected to participate.
“The elementary school Jamborees are a great opportunity for kids of all abilities to get some exercise in a festive atmosphere,” said Matias Saari, Healthy Futures event support coordinator.
Many children are getting ready for the fun runs by participating in their schools’ running clubs. Elementary students will run different distances, depending on their ages. The race course length ranges from about ½ mile to 1 mile. All kids will receive a Healthy Futures pin when they reach the finish line, Saari said.
Like in past years, participating children and their families will be able to stay hydrated at a special “H2O 2GO” water trailer from Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility (AWWU). The trailer has multiple drinking fountains and water bottle fill-up taps for thirsty runners and observers.
Dates, times and locations for Anchorage Jamborees
Here are the dates, times and locations for the upcoming Anchorage Cross Country Running Jamborees:
- North Anchorage Jamboree — Thursday, Sept. 19, starting at 5:30 p.m., with an optional walk-through of the race course beginning at 5 p.m. The Jamboree will be held at the trails near Bartlett High School. For more information, contact Benjamin Elbow, Rogers Park Elementary physical education (PE) teacher, at email@example.com.
- South Anchorage Jamboree — Saturday, Sept. 21, starting at 10 a.m., with an optional walk-through of the race course beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Jamboree will be held at the trails near Service High School. For more information, contact David Hall, Chinook Elementary PE teacher, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Beach Lake (Eagle River) Jamboree — Thursday, Sept. 26, starting at 5 p.m. The Jamboree will be held at the Chugiak High School trails. For more information, contact Caela Nielsen, Ravenwood Elementary PE teacher, at email@example.com.
Elementary students can attend any of the Anchorage Jamborees, regardless of where they live or where their elementary schools are located. Parents are encouraged to pre-register their children for the Jamborees at their schools. All children must have a signed waiver before participating in the event. Ask your child’s physical education teacher for more information about the Anchorage Jamboree in your area.
Dates, times and locations for Fairbanks running events
Here are the dates, times and locations for the upcoming running events in the Fairbanks area:
- Birch Hill Recreation Area — Thursday, Sept. 5, starting at 5:30 p.m. This event is hosted by U-Park Elementary School.
- Chena Lakes Recreation Area — Thursday, Sept. 12, starting at 5:30 p.m.
- Salcha Elementary School — Thursday, Sept. 19, starting at 5:30 p.m. This event is hosted by Salcha School.
- Chena Lakes Recreation Area — Thursday, Sept. 26, starting at 5:30 p.m. This event is hosted by Watershed and Two Rivers schools.
For more information about Fairbanks events, contact Norm Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph courtesy of Healthy Futures