Category Archives: last name D

Jim Decur

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

I started running the Equinox in 1994, and I’ve run the marathon up until two years ago when the ultra started.  Although I missed the marathon in 2008 due to a bike accident.  I live down in Denali Park and while commuting to work on my bike, a tour bus turned out in front of me.  I didn’t have a enough time to stop and I ran into the bus. Fortunately, I don’t remember a thing about the accident, but I was in the hospital for two weeks and in a neck brace for six months.  The doctors wouldn’t let me run, although I really wanted to.  I did walk the first eight miles of the Equinox that year.  

I’ve done the ultra the last two years, and I’m hoping to finish the ultra tomorrow.

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 feel like I’m training year round.  I don’t really do anything specific to train for the Equinox, I just continue to run.  I just enjoy running, and I live in such a beautiful area. We have so many great trails down in Denali.  There have been a few times where I’ve come up to do Steve’s training runs, but generally, I don’t do any Equinox training on the trails or on the Dome.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Just running.  I enjoy running, and I do a lot of long runs.  I’ve done 26 to 30 mile runs several times this summer. 

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

When it’s over!  The whole atmosphere, and getting to see so many old friends who I generally only get to see at the Equinox.  

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

My favorite part of the course is the trail from the start of the race to the bottom of Ester Dome.  Least favorite part is the pavement on Gold Hill Road.

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

I don’t have any bad moments at all.  My best moment would be the year I managed to finish in the top 10.  Every Equinox is special.

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

I don’t consider myself to be a competitive runner.  I just go out and run how I feel, and I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in pretty good shape, and I’ve felt well enough where it’s produced some pretty good results.  I want to keep on running.  I’ve really gotten into running ultras, and I hope to be able to keep progressing and going farther.

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

Do your training runs and make sure you do your long runs.  I think it helps to do hill workouts, even if you’re not running up Ester Dome.  Try to duplicate as much as the Equinox trail as you can no matter where you live.

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

I don’t think so.  Everything has always seemed to work out fairly well.  There’s always the dilemma as to what to wear the morning of the race.  Sometimes, I tend to overdress or under dress, but I make do.

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 am.  I’m going to do the ultra again tomorrow.  I’ve never run 40 miles, so we’ll see how it goes, but I think I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and persevere to the end.

The challenge to see if I can keep doing it.  I’ve never really felt it was that hard.  I just did a 50K run down in northern Michigan that I thought was much tougher than the Equinox.

This interview was conducted on September 16, 2011, the day preceding the 2011 Equinox Marathon.

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Ted Fathauer


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


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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Tina Devine

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

I’ve run the full marathon nine or 10 times, and the ultra for the first time last year.  The very first time I ran the Equinox was around 1994, and I ran the first leg in a relay.  I did the 3rd leg  once or twice.

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 don’t do a lot of specific training for the Equinox.  I just do long runs once a week.  And a lot of times, in the summertime, I’m not here.  I get really tired of training on Ester Dome, so I don’t do it a lot.  One year, I did train a lot on it and I think it does help, but I’ve lived here 20 years and I can’t keep running Ester Dome.  I’ve run it maybe once this summer, but I’m not competing like I used to either.  I’m very different from Jane LeBlond who does all her training specific to the race; I don’t.  I just figure I need to do elevation.  Early on in the ’90s and early 2000′s, I would just drive, camp, and then find places in Alaska to run.  I’d go to the Brooks Range and run along the pipeline, or Atigun Pass.  I saw a lot of Alaska that way. 

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I did long runs, but I never did super long runs.  I never went over 20 miles.  I went on 16 or 18 mile runs at the highest point.  But I did a lot of training during the week.  Two days a week I did doubles – a workout in the morning and another one in the afternoon.  I haven’t done that in years.

One day a week, I would do speed work of 25 second pick-ups or something on the track.   One day of hill repeats.  Run up three to four minutes as hard as you can five or six times.   I’d have a medium week, hard week, then an easy week.  A medium week was nine or 10 hours, and a hard week would be 11 to 12 hours with good quality workouts.  An easy week would be seven hours and allow me to recover and have energy to do the medium and hard weeks again.  Also, I never over raced, but I’d pick four or five races that I wanted to do, and that certainly makes you faster.

The summer that I broke the record in 1998 I was in Colorado and I’d go on three hour runs, and I was pretty dedicated to speed work and intervals.  When I came back from Colorado I felt really strong, but I wasn’t sure.  I remember thinking that I was going to go for the record, 3:25 at the time.  I ran it in 3:21. 

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

It’s a community event  and everyone comes out for it.  It marks the end of summer and the beginning of ski season.  There’s times I think I’m not going to do it; I’ve done it too many times, and then I feel I’ve got to and everyone else is out there.  It’s a nice farewell to running.  I still run in the winter, but I focus on skiing.

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

My favorite part used to be Henderson trails.  But I really like seeing the Patty Gym and the UAF towers because you know you’re finishing up.  My favorite part now is the end of Gold Hill near the University.  Least favorite is running on the road when you come out of the woods on Ballaine.  And the start is horrible, the sledding hill.  

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

One of my favorite moments was realizing on Gold Hill that I was going to beat the record.  That was really exciting for me.

The year I broke the record, when I had got to the start, I had to go to the bathroom, but I knew if I ran back into the Patty Gym, I would miss the start.  As I was going down the chute, I just couldn’t hold it anymore. I looked up to see who was behind me. Jim Brader was at the top of the chute, and thought he wouldn’t care, so I just peed right in my shorts!  I worried that everyone was going to smell me where people were waiting at the next spot, but my shorts were dry!  If I had stopped to pee, I would have lost a good 50 seconds at least.

One of my not so fond memories is I kind of got cocky and didn’t train very hard one summer, and Jane LeBlond was training really hard.  She just cruised right by me on Gold Hill. Stuart Grant said, “Stay with me,” because my morale went down.  I stayed with him and focused on his back and he took me home.  I was so grateful.  To this day, I still thank him.

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

Used to.

My running goals now are to keep running my whole life.  I’m really drawn to the longer distances, the ultras.  I still do the track workouts; I like them, but I moved away from training hard. It hurts too much.  As you get older, and I’m almost 50… you can’t go as hard.  I just love running.  Skiing doesn’t make me feel this way.  Nothing makes me feel as good as running. The best thing about running is that not only does it keep me in shape, but it makes me go outside.  I love being outdoors.  When I’m doing this ultra training, I’m usually out there for five hours.  What’s better than that? 

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

Train on hills.  

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

Not training hard enough that one summer and getting complacent.  I had run it two or three years in a row, and I kind of thought it was going to be mine again.  

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’ve done more grueling, but this is a hard one.  I think I’m going to do the 40 miler this year.  It really helps to have friends who like to run, so if I can surround myself with people like that, that helps.  Fairbanks is such a running town.  It’s a rite of passage.  You can’t go into fall without doing the Equinox.

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Dena Doublex

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

I’ve run the full Equinox three times.  I started running it in 2008 as a fundraiser.  I didn’t think I was going to enjoy running it, so I was very surprised.  

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 don’t have a real training program.  I’m very inconsistent one week to the next.  When I ran with Team in Training, that was great.  This year is very different… My husband has pancreatic cancer and we’ve been out of state and our lives have been very disrupted.  We haven’t had any routine to our lives… Everything changes all the time.  I decided that regardless of what state we’re living in at the time or what was going on that I was going to do the Equinox as a fundraiser for pancreatic cancer.  I just recently have been back in Fairbanks so I haven’t done a lot of running on the course.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I love the trails and the trees.  I can’t imagine wanting to do a marathon anywhere else.  I really like the hills; I walk them.  Because I rest on the hills, I can enjoy running down them.

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

I enjoy the part right after the chute.  I really don’t have a least favorite.

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

My favorite moment was my first Equinox – crossing the finish line with two other people together (Peggy Sullivan and Bonni Brooks).  

I had a horrible moment at that Equinox that was so cold.  It snowed on the top (of Ester Dome).  I was going too fast and I was cold, and I got a cramp early in the race.  I had to keep running.  When I slowed down, it would hurt.  

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

I consider myself competitive in that I like to do better than my previous years.  But in terms of competing with other people, no.  I’m not under an illusion that the reason I’m first in my age group now is because I very cleverly aged out of the group that had Dorli and Jane in it.  I do like to try to do better each year.  My goal this year is a very personal one to raise money for pancreatic cancer because there’s a real need there.  My goal is to do the Equinox no matter where we are.

I really do believe in a lot of recovery.  I like to have a good time.  I want to train more than I do.  I understand that I under train, but I would rather do that than overtrain. I’m the type of person if I ran too much or trained too hard, I wouldn’t like it.  I’d like to be more consistent and run more than I do, but not everyday.  

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

Enjoy it and walk as often as you need to walk.  Have a good time.

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.  Definitely, this year is different.  I’m very motivated.  I think that’s why I’m faster because I really do think of David (husband) and it’s a very difficult thing.  David’s getting a blood transfusion tomorrow.  That definitely keeps me motivated to put one foot in front of the other.  It’s nothing compared to going through all that.

 Visit this link to donate money for pancreatic cancer research:

  Dena Doublex’s Fundrasing Page


Donna DiFolco

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

I’ve ran the relay once and that was my first experience with running the Equinox.  I ran the third leg, and I remember I was so sore after I ran that leg.  I’ve never been more sore in my life from doing anything, that I decided if I’m going to get this sore running this, I’m going to do the whole thing!  My first one was in ’98, and then I had a break for several years.  I’ve been doing it pretty much since ’03 or ’04, except one year  I didn’t do it because of a knee injury.

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 just try to do stuff all year round, but usually by July I’m thinking I need to get some more distance in because I really don’t train that much compared to some people.  I just try to get in some longer miles once a week.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I just try to get some miles in.  I have all these ideas of what would be great to do, but I never do it!

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I think it’s a beautiful course.  I like running on the trails.  I am grateful for the pavement at the end because I start to drag my feet and trip. 

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

I like the beginning once you get to the top of the sledding hill all the way to the bottom of Ester Dome.

My least favorite is going from the bottom of Henderson on that gradual uphill on Gold Hill Road.  Because you’re going down down down, and getting this free distance, and then you start going onto the flat and then going up.  I’m so tired and my legs just don’t want to go.  

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

Getting to the finish line is my favorite moment!  

One memorable moment, maybe two years, I was just going along between miles 18 to 19 on the trail…  All of a sudden I was flat on my face!  And there was this man standing there and I fell right in front of him.  So embarrassing!  I just remember laying there on the ground, looking back, and wondering what did I trip over?  And there was nothing there!  

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

No, I don’t consider myself competitive, but I have this perpetual goal of beating 4 1/2 hours every year, which I think I may have made for the first time last year in many, many years.  I don’t know if I’m going to make it this year.  

I’m always trying to get in better shape.  I guess I’m always trying to improve myself.  

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

I think it’s important to do the hills and distance. Coming up Ester Dome is really hard. I basically just hike it.  I think going on hikes and doing steep hills is really helpful.  I found that for me when I hike on Moose Mountain, I feel a lot stronger on the hills.

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

The only thing that I consistently have a problem with is needing to go to the bathroom!  Usually, when I get excited about it beforehand, I have to go, and then that kind of take cares of 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?

Yes.  Just the challenge.  It’s a beautiful time of year.  I like the course.  It’s nice to say that I did it.  It gives you a good sense of accomplishment.  

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Angie Schmidt


Jackie Debevec

Jackie and her husband, Ed.

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

After supporting Ed a couple years, I decided that if I could hike 10 days in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with an 80 pound pack, I should be able to hike the Equinox Marathon so I gave it a try. Ed and I made a day out of it. Stopping for lunch and talking with people along the way. Then I got serious and ran/walked it in 2002. With my Type 1 diabetes, it got too hard to figure out insulin/food amounts without going low so I switched to relays and have done probably about five relays. 

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? 

I stay active throughout the year–riding an exercise bike, walking with friends, doing the weight machines at the SRC and when my knee can handle it…. running in some of the 5K and 10Ks. 

What’s your favorite thing about this race? 

The camaraderie of the Fairbanks running community comes out during this race. From finding relay members for newly formed teams to offering rides to relay teammates to the start of the 2nd or 3rd leg. Also along the route there are well wishers giving their support which helps a lot. I love running/walking through the birch and aspen trees with the beautiful golden leaves. 

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

I like legs one and three the most–running through the woods. Least favorite–running up Ester Dome on leg 2. 

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

My best moment was when I was waiting for Ed to finish and all of a sudden I hear bagpipes. Dennis Stephens, a member of the Fairbanks Red Hackle Pipe Band, decided to play for Ed as he ran across the finish line. Ed has two main loves–running and piping, so it was very fitting to combine them (which normally is hard to do). He said hearing the pipes helped him run faster at the end. We both appreciated Dennis’ gift of music. 

Fortunately, I have not had a “worst” moment. 

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

I am not a competitive runner until right before the finish line, then I’ll shoot for trying to beat the person in front of me… if there is a chance. Otherwise, I try to achieve a reasonable pace for me and attempt to keep my sugar levels from going to low or too high. My fitness goals are to exercise as many times per week as I can and enjoy the muscle burn. 

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

Don’t forget to look up at the trees once in awhile and enjoy the beauty all around. Get involved in the running community—it helps to run/walk amongst friends. 

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

I used to plan to eat energy bars during the race, but they didn’t always sit well with my stomach. So now I try to start out with high sugar levels, drink gatorade-type drinks and goo throughout. The dual-wave on my diabetes pump also helps a lot (spreading the insulin out throughout the race or for some time right after). 

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

I enjoy participating in the event by running or walking it or volunteering to help out with registration and bib pick up. I hope I can run/walk a leg this year. Next year, I’d like to walk/run the whole marathon again. The sense of accomplishment when it is over, is great and…. very addicting!

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Holly King


Dee Daniels


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

I’ve hiked it once; ran the relay twice; and I think I’ve ran the full marathon 3x.  Had a bad race with some cramping and have one DNF.

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?

When I ran, I ran all year round, keeping my base in the winter, and then slowly adding on mileage/distance in the spring. Planned a long run of 15+ miles most weekends starting in June, except for when I raced.  Averaged three to four 20 milers on the course in preparation for the big day.  I would only trail run a few times a month, and include the Dome about twice a month during the summer.  

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

The Equinox is such a spiritual experience for me.  It’s so wicked hard, and pushing myself to finish this crazy race is very empowering and emotional.  And I love sharing this time with everyone out there. It’s a shared celebration of our hard work, and we became a community.   I get a big sense of connection that day.

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

I love the trails up to mile 9, and then the trails following the chute and running down Henderson.  Honestly, I find the Dome to be evil.  It’s so hard, even when I’m in really decent shape!  

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

My best moments have been crunching on the leaves on the trails and feeling the crisp air;  feeling prepared, fit and ready to conquer!   Turning a bend and seeing my family there cheering me on and supporting me.  I always feel so accomplished when I don’t trip or stumble on the roots or on the out and back!  My worst moment is my DNF when I cramped up on the Dome in the pouring rain and didn’t have the heart or will to finish.

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

Gee, I used to take myself so seriously, and I would have considered myself a competitive runner!  I laugh at that now! My current running goals are absolutely none!  Stopped running a few months ago and I’m now enjoying walking, hiking, spinning, but mostly yoga.  I plan on taking a tai chi class this summer or in the fall.  There could be some running in my future, but I’ll definitely have a much more casual approach with my training and racing.

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

Pacing is super important, and I don’t think I ever quite got that right for this marathon.  The Dome requires so much respect, and it will crush your soul (or your legs) if you’re not careful.  The last relay I did (leg 2), I walked a fair portion of it and still managed a time of  about 90 minutes.  I always made myself run run run the Dome, but maybe there’s something to walking parts of it!  I’ve heard this a lot before, but never believed it until I did it myself.  Have a Dome strategy! 

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

I’ve had so many flubs!  Not drinking enough which really needs to be figured out in your training runs.  Not dressing properly on the Dome which really zapped me of some precious energy.  Wear layers! Running the first 9 miles super fast and bonking too soon.

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

I think I’ll always want to participate somehow in this wonderful event, even if it’s volunteering or cheering on others.  I think I’ll either hike it or run/walk it this year.  The beauty, the sense of community, the people, and hanging out in nature keeps me keenly interested in the Equinox.


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