Alaska offers many opportunities to get out and play with your kids—camping, hiking, exploring and fun outdoor events—and many communities offer an assortment of kid-friendly runs or events at low or no cost. Getting your kids involved in physical activity is one of the best ways to support positive healthy habits they can take into adulthood.
Mosquito Meander in Fairbanks, Alaska Run for Women in Anchorage
Fairbanks starts its summer with the 2018 Mosquito Meander on June 9, a 5K (3.1 mile) family fun run/walk. This year will be the 26th running of the event, which benefits the Resource Center for Parents & Children. On the same day, Anchorage will have the Alaska Run for Women with 5- and 1-mile events for females of all ages and abilities. The run benefits the fight against breast cancer, with 100% of the donated proceeds going toward mammograms, breast cancer research and education.
Other events in Seward, Cooper Landing, Palmer and Ketchikan
Here’s a glimpse of what’s going on around the state for kids:
• Fairbanks has four Kids Cross Country (XC) Runs at 6 p.m. every other Friday evening from June 8 through July 20 at the West Valley High School soccer fields.
• Seward Real Estate’s Bear Bells Run 1-mile event for kids is June 8 and Cooper Landing’s Trail Run is June 9.
• Anchorage starts one of four “Splash ‘n Dash” races, a kids-only swim and run at the Service High School Pool on June 26.
• Palmer has a Kilted Mile Race on June 30. It’s a family event and part of the Scottish Highland Games.
• Ketchikan hosts the Blueberry Fun Run and Walk on August 4. This includes a 1-mile kid’s run.
All of the details of these races and more can be found in the Alaska Runner's Calendar.
Leaders who start these races believe in making exercise fun for kids. Tracey Martinson started the Kids XC Runs in Fairbanks about 15 years ago. She says she started them because there weren't many opportunities for young kids ages 5–10 to run in a timed event that is geared toward their abilities (0.5 mile to 1.5 miles).
“The goal is to help kids enjoy running, not be overwhelmed by it, as can happen if they enter a 5K race,” she said. “We also have the Equinox Kid’s Marathon, now in its 16th year.” Find more information on the kid’s marathon here.
Heather Helzer, a competitive triathlete and ultra-runner, started Alaska Splash n' Dash in Anchorage last year as a way to give kids who are interested in triathlons more competition in Alaska. She wanted kids to have an opportunity to compete or participate in kids-only races. The Alaska Splash n' Dash is a swim/run three-race series, in which kids receive points and awards at the end of the series.
“The goal is to encourage more kids to get involved in the sport of triathlon without the barrier of needing a bike, keeping the entry to the sport low and the race price low as well,” said Helzer. Prices are $20 for one race and $50 for all three races, which includes a medal at every race, T-shirt, snacks and more.
Last year, about 40 kids participated in each Splash n’ Dash, with a total of more than 70 kids for the race series. Helzer said she expects 75–100 kids at this year’s races. Life jackets are allowed, and parents can run the entire course with their child. They also encourage the entire family to volunteer if they're unable to race.
“This is a kids-only fun race with the goal for every kid to finish and have fun,” Helzer said. For more information, visit Turnagain Arm Training.
For more kid-friendly events, visit the Healthy Futures website.