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Mt. Marathon's peak is 4,600 feet high with the race trail summiting at 3,022 feet . Mt. Marathon is the home of the 4th of July Mt. Marathon Race which began about 1915.
The story goes that a local business man, Gus Borgen bet $100 that the mountain couldn't be run up and down in less than an hour. It seems for that race, Gus was right as Jamies walters finished it in 62 minutes (just over the one hour mark).
As of the 2007 race, former olympic cross country skier, Bill Spencer still holds the record with the time of 43. minutes, 23 seconds he obtained in 1981.
This hike is a wonderful day hike with plenty of views, wonderful plant life and wildlife for those in good shape. The race trail can be reached off of Jefferson Street (shortly after passing the local hospital this becomes Lowell Canyon Road). There is an alternate route for those that would like to hike the mountain but do not want to climb through the trees. This would be the Sheffler Creek Waterfall trail (locally known as the Jeep Trail) and its trailhead is located at 1st and Munroe streets. It is also strenuous and uphill, but a little more forgiving with several bench areas and valleys on the ascent to catch your breath if needed. The Sheffler Creek entrance meets the Mt. Marathon trail below tree line and has a marker to signal the branch off from the Sheffler Creek Trail. At this marker the hiker can go to the left and join the Mt. Marathon Race trail or go right and continue on to Sheffler Creek Waterfall also known as the back side of Marathon leading to the "Bowl". Possibly because of the more gradual ascent and the valleys, there tends to be more wildflowers and wildlife on the Sheffler Creek Trail. If you should decide to take either one of these trails you will want to plan on a minimum hike (not race) time of at least 2 hours for Sheffler Creek and 4 hours for the Mt. Marathon race trail (round trip). These are very rough estimates and depend on physical condition, knowledge of the trail and if you decide to take breaks or just go up and come back down.
Be mindful of Pushki, Russian for cows Parsnip or wild celery. This is approximately 3-4' high with a white/cream colored flower type head. If you brush up against this plant it can cause a red irritation. If the sun happens to be out, it can cause blisters as it reacts to sunlight (photo sensitive).
Be careful and watchful of the wildlife. This is prime feeding grounds for the local moose (cows with their calves) and black bear (sows with their cubs) in this area. Be very careful of getting between a cow/sow and her young. Both moose and bear are extremely protective of their young and will charge if they feel their young are threatened. For this reason it is highly recommended that you don't hike alone, that you do talk and or make noise while you're hiking to let the local wildlife know you are there (they will leave if they can hear you coming) and that you let someone know you are hiking the trail. You should let someone know what time you start, an approximate time you expect to return and which route you plan on taking. If you don't have anyone to communicate that information with you can always call the local police department at 224-3338. They will take you seriously, so please be courteous and give them a phone call when you have returned safely down.
Be safe and enjoy!