Category Archives: 2011 interviews

Teri Langton

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

This is my first relay (first leg) I’ve ever done, and the first time I’ve participated in the Equinox. My best time in my practice runs was two hours 12 minutes. and I was hoping to do it under two hours   I did it in 1:58!!

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 trained during the summer. I had six weeks where I couldn’t train due to a little injury, but after that I trained pretty hard.  I did Ester Dome two or three times and decided that I didn’t want to do that leg.  I did the chute, and decided that I didn’t want to do that leg either.  I wanted to the first leg, and it was a good fit for all of us team members.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I did a lot of running.  Even though I didn’t do the 2nd leg, I think running the Dome helped me a lot.  I also worked out in the Rec Center.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

It’s such a community event.  People don’t care if it takes you four hours to do one leg.  They’re just so encouraging, and there are so many inspiring people out there who say, “good job” while you’re dying!

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

I think the chute is really hard, but it’s all hard.  Even with the first part, there are so many roots that you really have to concentrate.  And then of course, the Dome is hard.   Running in the woods is my favorite part.

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

When I got to mile 5 and knew that I could make my goal… That was awesome!  No bad moments today!

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

I’m not a competitive runner.  I’m slow.  I used to be able to do a 9:45 minute/mile.  I haven’t been able to do that for a year and a half, but I would like to get back to doing a 9:30 minute/mile. I’d like to lose another 10 pounds, and I think that would help me to reach my running goals.

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

Get out and try it!  The training runs were wonderful.  The people are wonderful, and no one cares how fast you do it.

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

Doing more hills would have helped.

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?

I think so!  I don’t know if I’ll do the whole thing, but I was thinking of maybe trying two legs.

Meeting my goal has really motivated me!

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Dana Novak


Susanne Lyle

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

I’ve run this marathon three times, I believe. In the last couple years I’ve really enjoyed running as part of a team on the relay.

What does your training schedule look like to prepare for this event? When do you start training? How often do you run on the course, the trails, and the Dome?

To be honest, I’ve never trained for any of the marathons I’ve run.  Although I try to maintain a good base by staying active with running, swimming and biking, I have never even looked at a training schedule.  In fact, my husband John always says that I could “do so much better” if I were more serious about training.  For some reason I’ve never had that kind of ambition.  I usually wait until the last minute before signing up, depending on how I feel.  

The closest I’ve gotten to a training regime is participating in the women’s running group with Bruce Miller and Steve Bainbridge’s Equinox training runs.  I’m not disciplined enough to do interval or hill training by myself.  Every year is different and I’ve been traveling quite a bit in the summers, so unfortunately I don’t get to attend these training runs religiously.  I’m lucky to live right on the Equinox trail and I run on it a lot, either connecting onto campus trails or roads up and around Ester Dome.  I hardly do any running on roads and feel grateful for all the great trails we have in Fairbanks.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

It’s such a community event.  Whether you race, jog, or walk, hike, volunteer or cheer on the sidelines, it’s always felt to me as if the whole community is out to support each other.  It brings people together and celebrates everyone’s capabilities, efforts and accomplishments equally as we collectively appreciate the beautiful surroundings in which we live.

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

This relates mostly to the degree of difficulty.  It’s sometimes hard to remind yourself why you’re doing this when the alarm clock goes off early in the morning and you know it’s dark and chilly out and really, you’d much rather stay in your warm, comfortable bed. Then there’s the anxiety of not knowing what your race is going to be like.  I’m happy to get the first steep hill at the SRC behind me because it’s such a bottle neck, but once I find my pace and stride, I shift into the moment-by-moment, one-step-at-a-time mode.  Of course I dread the steep up-hill sections, but each Equinox is different and the same course section can feel easy one time and then really hard another.  I like the section where the trail meets Henderson Road.  Naturally, crossing the finish line is one of the best parts because you get to see all the smiling faces and cheer on the ones yet to cross…plus there is always the sauna afterwards.

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

I’ve been lucky to have never experienced “hitting the wall” or injuring myself during the run but again, I don’t “race”.  I’m happy if I can just go the distance.  I’ve always been challenged staying warm and look forward to many cups of hot tea from the thermos during the race.  Psychologically one of the best moments is always reaching the top of Ester Dome and enjoying the view from up there.  It’s a great reminder what a magnificent place we live in, and a relief that the toughest (meaning up-hill) part of the race is over.

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

Like most runners know,  running a marathon is very humbling.  I lack the ambition to be competitive and besides staying healthy into old age, I never really had a “goal”.  If I know for myself that I did the best I could out there that day, I’m satisfied.  Running is only part of the activities I enjoy.  My first love is yoga and running is secondary.  It’s my yoga practice that has allowed me to continue running as much as I do in the first place.  Personally, I’ve found cross training to be beneficial.  I tend to alternate running and swimming days, once in a while combining both for a double workout or throwing in a bike ride.  In the winter I switch to cross country skiing.  

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate being able to run no matter how far or slow.  I don’t take my body for granted and try to take care of it by finding the balance between keeping fit and allowing it to rest.  My long-term goal is to be able to keep running as long as possible.  For me, that can sometimes mean running less (and doing more yoga) in the short term. 

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

We only have this one body and the better we care for it the more we’re able to enjoy life.  It is a skill to stay tuned-in to your body at all times and know what it really needs.  I’m sure every runner has over trained or pushed themselves too much, too far or too fast at some point and then paid the precious price.   Yoga teaches to give 100 percent and then let go of the outcome.  I think running is a little like that:  we can prepare for the course as best we can but we never really know what will unfold on race day.  We can’t control all the factors.  There are too many. The only thing we can really control is our attitude.  So my advice would be to not take one’s self too seriously and remember to have fun. Enjoy yourself. Pause and notice the smell of the cranberries and soak in the fall colors. Most importantly:  smile, greet and thank those who pass by.

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

I’ve never really worried about training by the book.  If anything I could have probably put in more training miles, fueled more smartly, as well as allowed for more rest days prior to race day.

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year?  Why do you participate in this event and what keeps you motivated?

Never say never.  The marathon distance is kind of hard on my body and at this point in my life,  not what I personally need.  But I’ll definitely consider the relay any year and would love it if the Equinox race would offer a half-marathon distance option.


Ed Debevec

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

I first did the Equinox in 1998. Since then, I missed one year due to an injury and did the relay one year. If my math is right, that means I’ve done the marathon 11 times. I guess I’d describe it as a love-hate relationship.

Sometimes I’ve done the marathon with my wife, Jackie. One year we put on our hiking boots, loaded our day packs, and enjoyed our 9 hour hike, complete with a lunch at mile 15. A couple other years we did a mix of walking and running together. We were even immortalized with a picture in the paper as we walked hand in hand down the chute. The point is, there are many ways to “do” the Equinox. Go with what fits you at the time.

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 used to stop running in the winter and then have to start my training from scratch every spring. I finally got smart and now I keep running throughout the year, whatever the weather. In addition to shorter runs, I try to do a weekly 10 mile run through the winter so that the 15 to 20 milers in the summer aren’t so intimidating. I try to get on the trails as soon as the snow melts and they’re reasonably dry. I work on campus and do a lot of mid-day runs on the first 8 miles of the course out to Ann’s Greenhouse. I try to plan several longer runs on the rest of the course throughout the summer. It’s a treat to run the difficult portions without the race day pressures. The out and back can actually be enjoyable.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

One year, a few of us continued to meet every Wednesday during the summer after the Fahrenheit Be Darned runs ended. Dave Leonard, Roger Topp, and I ran up and down Ester Dome so many times that I lost count. We ran other sections of the trail as well, but Ester Dome was the focus. It paid off because on race day, the climb up Ester Dome and the out and back were just like another Wednesday. That’s not to say they were easy, but we knew what to expect and we just did it.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

The time of year is ideal for this. It’s a bit on the cool side at the start and (usually) a crisp autumn day. It’s a seasonal ritual, the culmination of months of hard work before settling in for the winter ahead. I bet they had something like this at Stonehenge.

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

As with many people, I enjoy the section just after the chute. After the previous 7 miles, you get to relax with a slight downhill through the woods. You want this to continue forever, but it only lasts about half a mile and then comes my least favorite part. About half way between the chute and Henderson Road, there is a very short uphill stretch. It’s over in less than 10 seconds, but it’s steep enough and long enough that your momentum won’t carry you through it. You have to totally shift back to your uphill mode of running. If I can get past that without cramps starting, then I’m happy.

I also have to mention the out and back. It’s one of my least favorite parts because of the ups and downs and the difficult rocky terrain, but it’s also one of my favorite parts because it’s like the social section of the course. You get to say hi to friends, cheer on those ahead of you, and give encouragement to those behind you.

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

I’ve had a few not so good moments. One year as I was nearing the top of Ester Dome, I had a migraine start. I get the visual auras so I can’t see very well. I didn’t have my meds with me so I just walked the entire out and back, hoping by then I’d be feeling good enough to finish. Well, I wasn’t, so I didn’t. I guess that means I’ve only done the marathon 10 times. See how you block these things out.

Another year, I came down the chute a little too fast and by the time I got to Gold Hill, my right knee was screaming. I limped in the final 5 miles. Now I take it easy going down the chute, figuring that any time I lose there can be made up later with healthy knees.

One of my best moments was the year I failed to achieve my goal of finally breaking 4 hours. I got to mile 26 and knew I wasn’t going to make it. Just as I came out of the woods at the top of the final downhill to the finish, I could hear it in the distance. Was it, could it be? Yes, indeed, it was the sound of bagpipes calling forth in me the determination to finish strong. I had mentioned my 4-hour goal to fellow piper Dennis Stephens and he came and gifted me and many others that day. Cracking the 4 hour barrier would have to wait another year, but it didn’t matter. I had finished and that was cause enough for celebration.

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

I’m competitive with myself. I always have a goal in mind and, so far at least, my times have been getting faster. I’ve also become more competitive within my age class and I don’t deny I like to get a medal now and then. I suppose everybody thinks theirs is the toughest age class, but ours is pretty tough. I have 2 or 3 years in an age class before people like Wayde Leder, Roger Sayre, Andy Holland, and Bob Baker take over. And then there’s Greg Finstad. We’re about 3 months apart in age so I’m pretty much doomed to be chasing him until I can’t run anymore. But in all honesty, it’s a pleasure to participate with these guys.

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

Get involved with a group to train with. Even if it’s only one or two other runners, if you’re training with a group, you’re much more likely to get out and run when you don’t really feel like it. Running with someone faster than you will do more to improve your time than running twice the miles on your own. I run with the Fahrenheit Be Darned group through the winter and usually continue with some of them through the summer. I’ve also been running 2 or 3 times a week with the West Ridge Runners. Join a group or form your own. You’re going to be running a lot of miles and I’ve found that it helps to do them with a good group of people.

Don’t forget to practice going up the sledding hill at the start of the course. On race day, try to get up the hill and through the gap in the fence quickly. That’s a bottleneck that will set you back a little bit of time and put you behind a lot of people. After that, take advantage of the first mile and a half of fairly wide trails. Once you pass Ballaine Lake, the trail narrows so try to be in a position where you won’t mind it if you can’t pass at will. Also, bring lots of Gu. I carry a little water to supplement the water stops so I know I can grab a sip when I need it. Be aware that weather on top of Ester Dome can be very different than at the start.

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

Some years I’ve suffered from cramps in my calves during the final 6 miles. I’ve had the strength to finish strong, but the legs just weren’t working. I’ve tried hydrating and electrolyte replacement, but they still persist. Perhaps I need to incorporate more 20+ milers in my training. I’ll keep working on it until I find something that works. It’s frustrating to watch 5 or 10 minutes tick away because you have to stop and stretch a few times.

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?

Unfortunately I’ll be sitting this one out. Runners aren’t always willing to rest when they should and I found myself with a stress fracture in my left foot. After almost 8 weeks, I’m finally back to running, but there just isn’t time to get ready for the Equinox. I will be there, though, maybe helping with the timing or whatever else needs doing. It’s an autumn ritual.

There is a strong camaraderie among all the runners. Oh sure, there are the friendly competitions at all levels (I’ll catch you someday, Greg!), but at the heart of it, everyone is pulling for each other. We all want each other to do well and be pleased with our accomplishments. If you fall short of your goal, you’ll find understanding because we’ve been there too. If you surpass even your wildest hopes, then we’ll be cheering for you because we recognize what it took to get there. It’s one race, but it’s measured on many clocks.

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Andy Sterns


Ashley Munro

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

I did the full marathon once in 2010.  

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?

This year I did Team in Training, and we started the beginning of May. We spend a lot of time on the course, especially running up Ester Dome. We ran the Dome probably every other weekend this summer.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Mostly just running.  I try to get out on the trail a lot.  I was new to trail running last year, so getting used to watching out for roots, rocks, and sticks was completely different.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I love being able to run with other people, and not having to listen to my headphones.  There’s always tons of people I know out on the trail and participating in the race.  It’s fun to get to know and talk to other people who are out there running.

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

I’m not a big fan of the out and back.  It’s kinda creepy out there, especially when you’re by yourself! It’s also a place where if I get hurt, how long would it be before someone found me out there? 

The Alder Trail is my favorite.  It’s beautiful, especially this time of year with all the leaves covering the trail, and the trees going over the top.  It looks like you’re running out in the middle of no where, but you’re not.  Especially in the race, because I’m so far behind the pack and everyone is spread out.  It feel like I’m out there all by myself.

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

I don’t have a worst moment.  I think I blocked out all the bad memories!

It’s the furthest I’ve ever run.  I’ve never done anything like that before, so when I came up on the trail behind UAF, and I caught my first glimpse of the white satellite, I almost cried because I realized where I was and how close I was to being done.  That was amazing.

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

I definitely don’t consider myself a competitive runner.  I’m not fast by any means; I just try to go out and do my best.  I keep track of my times, and I try to beat my times from the year before.  I compete against myself, but not with anybody else.  

My running goals are to run throughout the winter, and to not have to start out each summer.

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

To find a running buddy to get out on the trail with.  It makes a huge difference.  Last year, I did my long runs mostly by myself, and it was boring.  This year, I have someone to go out with me, and we just did a 20 mile run last weekend, and it flew by.  It wasn’t hard at all.  You forget you’re out there running so long when you have someone to talk to.

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

I did.  I actually wore tights that I never wore before.  My friend let me borrow them because I was so worried about being cold, especially going up Ester Dome.  I’ve never worn them on a long run before, and that was a mistake.  I was chafing in unexpected places!  It didn’t happen until the second half of the race, and I forced myself to forget about it because there was nothing I could do about it.  I definitely won’t be making that same mistake this year!

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?

Yes, of course!

The emotions at the end really got to me.  I was so proud of myself for having done that, and I wanted to make sure that I could continue to do it.  Overall, I had an amazing, fun time.  It’s definitely something that’s going to be on my list to do next year, too.

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Kathleen Hook


Greg Newby

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

This will be my fourth full marathon this year.

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 did a lot more running when I lived in the Lower 48 because the seasons are so much kinder there.  I run more when it’s not frozen out.   I do try to keep up a relatively high level of miles during the summertime, but I have not done a lot of specific training for the Equinox.   BeforeI have never ever run on the course, other than in the woods behind UAF, but this year is the first time I’ve had a concerted training effort.  I did most of the Equinox Training Runs, and now I’m much more familiar with the course.  I’ve done the Dome four or five times this summer.  I think there’s a real advantage to being more visually familiar with the course.  I don’t have to pay quite as close as attention, because I have a tendency of either drifting off and tripping on a root, or I have trouble following the trail.  The Training Runs were very nice in that I did some more interesting runs, and it’s easier to keep up a faster pace running with a crowd.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I run year round, and I do the elliptical at home.  It’s a beautiful machine.  It costs more than a lot of cars, but we’re on it every day in the wintertime, so we’re getting our money’s worth!

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I like that there’s a lot of people along the route saying hi and cheering you on.  That people coming out for it is what I find to be most enjoyable.

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

My favorite part is right after the chute where there’s some woods going along Ester Dome.  All of a sudden, it’s quiet.  You just went through this gauntlet of all these passes on the out and back, it’s relatively crowded, and getting onto this little stretch of woods is such a relief compared to what’s been going on the last couple of hours.  

I don’t have a least favorite part. I like going uphill, I don’t mind going downhill.  I don’t enjoy the roads quite as much.  

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

Not really a best moment, but a highlight was the first year I ran it in 2008, it was sleeting and miserable on top of the Dome, and then when I got down to the trail after the chute, it was sunny and 50 degrees.  It was such a physical relief.

I tend to wear the same shoes, but in 2009, I had some shoes that were a little too small.  They got dirty and I washed them, and I didn’t realize they got a little tight.  I went down the chute and jammed my toes. After that, I was miserable.  Every time my toes touched the front of my shoes, it was seriously painful.  I had to stop and retie my shoes.  I finished, but I was very, very slow.  If there was a bus or something there, I probably would have taken it!   Subsequently, over the following weeks, I lost five toenails.  

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

Definitely not competitive.  I don’t have any standing goals, but I try to stay active.  In fact, because we live out-of-town, I haven’t pursued getting involved in any team sports, and running is the logical thing for me to do.  In previous places I’ve lived, I was on a soccer team, played racquetball, went to the gym more often.  It was all just a convenience factor.  I’ve always enjoyed running a whole lot.

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

If you’ve done marathons before, the main thing that’s different is the trail running and the hills.  And running single file on the trail is not something that too many marathons have. Otherwise, I don’t think the overall training regime is that much different than any other marathon.  The unique things are getting used to the trail running and the extreme ups and downs of the hills.

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

Having shoes that were too tight!  And in 2008, I was stung five times by all those wasps, and still had a welt three weeks later!  It was painful.

Interestingly, last year, I got back from traveling around 12:30am, and ran the Equinox that morning, and it turned out to be just fine.  That’s the sort of thing that people would say is important, to have a good night’s sleep, but it was fine.  I haven’t had too many real problems. 

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?

Yes, I’ve signed up.  It’s hard, but I think if you maintain a reasonable amount of fitness throughout the year, then it’s perfectly doable.

I enjoy running and I like the crowd.  I really like seeing the fitness community of Fairbanks.  It’s visible if you’re in the right places, but it’s a lot easier to see the not so fit population in Fairbanks when you’re wandering around.  To me, it’s just exciting to see all these people who are putting in a lot of hours keeping fit.  

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David Leonard


Tim Doran

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

I’ve never done the ultra.  I’ve done the Equinox 13 times.  I did the relay once, the last leg.

The idea of running distance is relatively new in the last 12 years.  I walked the Equinox first because it was a great community thing, and I thought, how cool that people do this.  How do people run 26 miles?  The first Equinox, I only walked; the second one, I ran.  I went to Beaver Sports the night before, bought a pair of New Balance shoes, and ran in them at the race.  I finished it in 5:59.  Then I looked at my walking time, which was 6 hours 12 minutes, and I thought, only 13 minutes faster?  Was it worth it?  I thought it was cool, but it took me 20 years to run it again!  Except for the year my dad died, I’ve run it every year since.

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?

Training is not my thing.  I just go out and enjoy running, so I don’t train for it. Training and Tim Doran don’t connect!

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Going out and having fun!

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I love the start – watching the crowd of people cross that field and go up that hill.  The colors going across that field, the energy there, the sun rising… That is so neat.  And when you come in at the finish, people are there and they’re cheering you on, no matter how long it takes you.

Also, the people along the course.

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

The least favorite, because it’s so challenging is where you start up Ester Dome.

I love the first third of the course, and what I call the Golden Mile, where you come down off the chute and wind your way through the woods.

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

I actually don’t have a least favorite moment.  I’ve enjoyed each one, or I’ve adjusted to make sure I’ve enjoyed each one.  If I walk, that’s okay.  If I’m running, I don’t worry about the time.  It doesn’t have to be a PR.

Probably one of my favorite moments is in retrospect.  A couple of races ago, I was coming in to the chute at the finish, and people were cheering and yelling.  I was thinking, wow, this is so cool!  I was just about to cross the finish line, and this young teenager got ahead of me.  And I thought they were all cheering  just for me!  I didn’t know anybody was behind me.  It wasn’t until I saw the picture in the paper later on that this teenager was working so hard to catch me.  It was beautiful!  When I look at that picture, I see he had to work hard. He was a lot younger than me, but he had to work hard.  I was able to pat him on the back in good sportsmanship! 

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

Ha ha ha!  Competitive runner probably does not describe me!  I enjoy running, and there’s a little competition within myself to push myself as far as I can.

Glenn Hackney is such a wonderful role model.  I’ve looked at him for years, and I want to keep running just like him, and I’m determined to do that. The camaraderie of the running community here is phenomenal. Plus, running gives me an opportunity to see cities while I’m traveling, and enjoy them without all the noise when I go out for a run at 5:00 in the morning.  I can watch San Francisco wake up!  That has given me a whole new entrée to getting to know and enjoy different places.

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

Really enjoy it, and enjoy it for what it is on that given day.  Things might not go exactly as you hoped, but things may go better than you hoped.  I’ve had that happen to me.  My PR was the same year I had open heart surgery in January.  I was just out to see how I’d do, and if felt good.

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

I probably have!  But I think what has made the Equinox so enjoyable for me is I shift gears when I need to.  I might have pushed it a little too hard in one race, so my legs were tired when I hit mile 21/22, and I needed to shift gears.  At first, I was really bummed about it.  I started walking and thought maybe I could still run, but if I finished, I would finish injured. So I decided it was a beautiful day for a walk, and I finished it by walking, and I enjoyed it.

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?

I plan to do it, but I will not run the whole thing this year.   I will probably run the first third, and walk/run/hike the rest of the race to the finish.  

The camaraderie and the community spirit.  The thing that always crosses my mind is that people are sharing their backyards with us, and that is a motivator for me.  I love going through and thanking them.  And it’s a beautiful course!

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Tristan Sayre


Bob Hildebrandt

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

I have just ran the full marathon 16 times.

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’m retired now, but when I was a runner, I would run year round.  I would run a lot of races Outside.  Specifically, for the Equinox, my favorite areas were the first 10 to 12 miles and I ran that once a week in the summer.  I would only train on the Dome three or four times a year.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Long, slow runs.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Finishing!

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

I call it Sleepy Hollow, it’s the Aspen trail.  And a lot of times, running through the leaves there is like running through a cocoon. The chute is my least favorite.

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

My first years were faster.  Running down the last five or six miles and feeling really good and doing a good job.

My least favorite was dealing with my IT band one year.  I could only run a couple of miles before I had to stop and stretch. That was really challenging.  Allen Doyle lived here then, and he was going by and taking pictures of the race.  I remember thinking about waving him down, getting in his car and calling it quits.

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

I didn’t start running until I was in my 40s, so I was never a competitive runner.  My faster times were in my 40s, naturally.  I didn’t want to be last; I wanted to be in the last half.  My first Equinox was in ’93 and I ran it in 5 hours and a few seconds, and the next year I ran it around 4:50.  

The goal was to just finish the marathon.

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

Steve  had a good Equinox training program where you get to run the whole course.  Start out slow and get a good base to prevent injury.  Get in long, slow runs.  If you’re able to run a 20 miler, you know you can do the Equinox. There were several times, I’d go out for a 20 mile run and be gone for four to five hours, and I would stash water bottles around the route.  You can’t carry that much stuff with you and it’s best to have it along the roadway.

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

None that I can remember.  My wife was always available, so if I wanted to pick up a jacket, or need GU or a fresh water bottle, she was available.  I think my longevity was that I was always planning ahead.  I realized what was going to happen.

There was the time that I had done the out and back and I mistakenly ran through some surveying tape.  I would have been in Minto if the person behind me didn’t yell at me!

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?

No, I don’t.  I had a mild stroke in February 2009.  I would like to run again, but currently I’m not in physical condition. For awhile, I was running a quarter mile.  In the winter, I walk laps in the Big Dipper.  I felt I was gaining a lot of weight, so I started walking in the winter and riding my bike in the summer.  I have a really bad equilibrium problem, so I had to buy a three wheel bicycle.

It was my hometown marathon, and I just enjoyed it.

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Bobbi Jo Katchmar


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