Ted Fathauer

Describe your experience with the Equinox.  Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra?  How many times?

I’m not an ultra guy, but I’ve hiked the full marathon 17 times now.  My first Equinox was in 1993, and I’ve missed just one in 2007.

When do you start training for this race?  How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training?  How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

I hike the dome once every year during the event itself.  I don’t train for it.  One year, I told Dermot Cole that I was training for it by not going through the drive through at McDonalds, and was walking from my car in the parking lot instead.  There’s truth to that!

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I have none.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

There’s traditions that I have.  It used to be listening to Steve Bainbridge who was the race director for many years give the briefing before the race began, including the rules of the railroad.  Either he or Stan Justice explained if the train is coming, you’ll be stopped by a race volunteer and the order in which people finish at this point will be their official order, but they have to finish the race, not necessarily in the same order to get credit for it.  If you finish within 10 hours, you get a patch.  It’s interesting to see people I see once a year only at this race.  Another tradition I had was seeing Jack Townshend, who was always miles ahead of me, on the out and back.  He would be coming in while I was walking out, and we would give each other a big hug.  Finally, near the end of the race when I came into view of the Arctic Research Center, I’d give a ceremonial wave. (Ted is a meteorologist who works in this building.)

What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?

It’s hard to say which part is my favorite, but I think up top.  It’s so beautiful up there.  The least favorite is the boring part around mile 20 to 22, going straight along the road (Gold Hill Road) there.  It’s straight, it’s flat, there’s traffic going by.  

Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.

I think it was in ’94, it was kinda rainy and windy up there.  It was an east wind, and after coming from the out and back and I was heading into the wind… I don’t think I ever smelled such fresh air.  It was glorious.

Coming up to the stations where people have drinks and fruit – it’s discouraging to see people go through and just toss those paper cups on the road.  That’s unfortunate, and one of the few bad things.  

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?

I’m not a fitness-type person.  The only fitness goal I have is to live to age 105.  Life’s glorious, what the hell.  Ain’t life grand!

What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?

Just come and be a part of it.  Come a half hour early at 7:30am, and take in the pre-race briefing.  At this briefing, they point out some of the old timers, who have put in lots of miles and they’re good athletes.  These people have this modesty, and it’s neat to see them.

Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?

In my first one back in ’93, I thought it would be nice to have comfortable shoes so I wore my Hush Puppies.  They have smooth soles, and that happened to be a year when there was a lot of snow out there, and I was falling down all over the place.  It was quite humorous!

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country!  What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?

Oh yeah.

It’s tradition. There’s something beautiful about it.  It’s the people and the effort they make.  The Spirit of the Equinox award is something like an award they give once a year from the American Geophysical Union. It’s an award for lasting and unselfish cooperation in research, and there’s something like that with the Equinox.  People would just not run by if somebody fell down.  That would never happen.  Nobody is enemies up there.  Nobody.  They compete, but nobody dislikes anyone else.

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