Alaska Notebook: Sure steps and safe passage for Mount Marathon

Sure steps and safe passage today for the Mount Marathon runners in Seward. This year they're running under tighter rules of fitness and preparation after the disappearance in 2012 of rookie runner Michael LeMaitre, who was never found, and serious injuries to two other runners.

The race is one of those Alaska events by which a participant stamps his Alaska bona fides. There are all kinds of Alaskans, but if you've run Mount Marathon, or the Iditarod, or the Yukon Quest, or your-favorite-Alaska-event-goes-here, you've qualified the hard way to a certain claim on Alaskahood.

All of the events include risk, one way or another. Mount Marathon has plenty, and race organizers have kept the risk high while revising the rules to better protect life and limb. They'll have volunteers "sweep" on the mountain to make sure everyone is accounted for.

Here's hoping all runners savor the relief of the finish.

-- Frank Gerjevic