More than just a running race, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Midnight Sun Run is a uniquely Alaskan event that attracts participants from all over the country and all over the world. Now in its 39th year, this year’s race will have both in-person and virtual options. The virtual option will be open from 12:00AM on June 17th to 9:00PM on June 19th. The in-person race will happen on June 18th at 10:00pm.
Despite the late evening start, there’s no need to bring flashlights, as the summer solstice sun shines brightly in the sky above, from start to finish. In recent years the race has attracted over 3,500 participants, from the elite runners who are aiming to break the finish line ribbon to back of the pack strollers simply out to have a good time.
Even those who don’t enter the race have opportunities to enjoy the event. The race course, which starts at the UAF Patty Center and ends at Pioneer Park, meanders though Fairbanks streets and neighborhoods, where spectators are often times lined up elbow to elbow to cheer the runners on.
While most participants prefer to wear shorts and a t-shirt, others choose to participate in the time-honored tradition of wearing a costume. The costumed contest is perhaps one of the most anticipated aspects of the race, and given the fact that folks in Fairbanks have plenty of hours of daylight to work on costumes, the final products are unique, to say the least. The contest is held before the race at the start line, and participants must complete the race in costume to receive prizes.