The Great Alaskan Running Cruise
The perfect vacation for the active traveler
Yesterday, Memorial Day 2021, I spent the entire day moving my Uncle, a Veteran. Edward B. 6 hours of loading, unloading and reconnecting gadgets have left me feeling sore and old. Also grateful. You see, we had to move him into assisted living as he has reached that point where living on his own is unrealistic. It’s a nice place, but, well, you know. As a result, I’m more determined than ever to try and maximize the body that God gave me.
“Motion is Your Lotion”
Last week’s blog, Weight Gain and the Pandemic, I wrote about my desire to return to travel. Having patience with myself to deal with those aforementioned issues, I’m looking to 2022. I find inspiration and motivation from my own life and the places I’ve been blessed to see. The amazing people I’ve been blessed to meet. The incredible things I’ve been blessed to be apart of. I never take those for granted. See My Life as an Actor, and Travels
“Travel and change of pace impart new vigor to the mind.” Seneca
The Great Alaskan running cruise is the perfect vacation for the active traveler. Produced by Marathon Expeditions, the 8-day/7-night excursion through Alaska’s Inside passage is a bucket-list item for travelers of all ages and types. 180 strong was the group in 2018 I was privileged to be apart of and I was surprised to see over 50% being 50+. All skill levels. Above is the photo taken after the last run in Ketchikan. A 10K. One of the 4 scheduled runs/walks in the program.
“If the sun comes up, I have a chance.” Venus Williams
Procrastination reigned in the months leading up to the cruise. As a result, I arrived in Anchorage woefully unprepared. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. Jenny ‘the Coach’ Hadfield and her husband, John ‘the Penguin’ Bingham, have been leading the running cruises for over a decade and seeing people like me, loaded with excuses, is common. (“I don’t know where the time went. I got so busy! blah, blah”) Walking is encouraged. The entertaining and informative clinics they conduct put fears of not finishing at ease. There’s camaraderie and like-mindedness amongst the group and everyone supports each other.
“Exercise should be fun, otherwise, you won’t be consistent.” Laura Ramirez
Most of the group gathered in Anchorage 2 days before sailing. The pre-cruise options included hiking and a 5K (3.1miles) run/walk with a meet and greet over pizza and beer. Anchorage was nothing like I thought. The downtown Marriott, the group hotel, was in walking distance of restaurants, shopping and open spaces where there was music and festivals taking place. The streets were lined with beautiful flowers planted and kept up by the city in the summertime. Daylight remains well past midnight. 50% of Alaska’s economy relies on tourism, so the announcement that cruises will resume later this year comes as relief to the locals. Anchorage Downtown Marriott
Walking in Paradise
I walked during the meet and greet 5K. Day 3 is the Juneau 5K, 10K or half Marathon. I chose the 10K (6.2miles) and walked part of it. Day 4 is the Skagway 5K scavenger hunt called The Amazing Race and everyone walks it as it’s intended to be leisurely. Day 6 is the Ketchikan 10K and, I’m proud to say, was able to jog the entire run. The beauty of Alaska is on full display as are your senses. Heightened as you pass glaciers, waterfalls, and rivers teeming with salmon and halibut, as bald eagles hover eyeing meals.
I found the Great Alaskan Running Cruise through an article in Runner’s World magazine. All at sea. When the writer talked about “cruise ships giving him the creeps”, I could identify. Never one for lounging around, drinking, hanging by the pool and hitting the casino, I worried about being a fish out of water. Pardon the pun. My worries were allayed by the organization that works to ensure all 180 members were provided for and taken care of. Priority disembarkation at all the ports with transportation provided to and from each activity. Early starts, with breakfast in a private dining room, the event and a return to the ship by noon to carry on with optional excursions or leisure on board time.
How’s the Diversity?
The Great Alaskan Running Cruise of 2018 had many different types, but lacked diversity. A handful of ethnics, but only 3 black participants out of 180. Naturally, we gravitated toward each other embracing the strength in numbers motto. My upbringing and career have provided for many token moments, but it’s something you never get used to. The fellow participants were lovely as a collective and Jenny and John are A-list. The dining room reserves tables exclusively for the group and a nightly rotation is put in place to get to know as many as possible. The food was spectacular.
Marathon Expeditions resumes the Running Cruises in 2022. The Great Alaskan Running Cruise 2022. They also offer running cruises to Hawaii and the Caribbean. Marathon Expeditions. For the active traveler, it is the ultimate vacation. Though I am completely inept as a videographer, I enjoy watching the video above for fond reminiscences. Alaska truly is the last frontier. Perpetual eye candy. Forever the cooking freak, I took a class at Icy Strait Point on grilling salmon and halibut. We made salmon burgers and halibut breakfast sausage with fresh fish right out of the icy waters. A future food blog. Delicious.
Besides seeing Alaska, the benefit of exercising each morning and having the rest of the day to explore and eat made for a perfect balance. We were blessed with incredible weather, which needs to be mentioned that is not always. Apparently, the year before was fraught with rain and cold, with the group drying their wet running shoes each night via stateroom hair dryers. A lessened experience, no doubt. The U.S. 49th state and the largest in area does not disappoint. The beauty is unmatched and breathtaking.
This update is from June 1, the writing date of this blog. As stated earlier, yesterday, I helped move my Uncle. While very sore, it was great exercise and a jump start to the June Challenge. Tonight I took an online stretching class. Tomorrow, I will walk 5K and try to continue that every other day. Drinking lots of water. Putting it on my list and getting outside are current daily goals. It’s an uphill battle though. I finished an entire bag of Doritos while writing this….
Are you an active traveler? or the lying on a beach, reading a book traveler?