Category Archives: last name M

Michelle Mitchell

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

I ran the Equinox from 1996-2002. In 2003, I moved to Wasilla and started running Chicago in the fall in 03-05 for time. The first time I ran Equinox was only 10 days after I had just moved from Chicago to Fairbanks to teach at West Valley. I had spent that summer training for something around 3 hours in Chicago, got the call to work, scrapped Chicago, and had a very rough awakening in my first Equinox-it’s a HARD course! Oh, and it snowed to boot!

When do you start training for this race?

I would run nice base miles in the winter and do hill repeats once a week at West Ridge til the snow melted just to keep fit. Come April, I’d start training for Humpy’s /Equinox.

How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training?

I was gone an awful lot of those seven summers. I only spent two of the seven in Fairbanks, so I never did lots of training on the Dome in the summer. My Equinox best in 2002 of 3:31, I did after summer grad school in Moscow. I lived near the very VERY hilly 1980 Olympic cycling course at the time and did hill work and long runs there. I also did a 30k mountain running race outside Moscow that has an elevation gain and drop of nearly 3000m of up and 3000m of down over the 30k. I hurt more after that than the Equinox! My course record of 3:01 still stands from 2004-to give you an idea of how difficult that 30k course is.

How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

See above. I ran the Dome more in the winter sometimes just to get above the inversion on cold days! If you can’t run the Dome in the summer training months -find other hellacious hills and make friends with them. Between the cycling course in Moscow and the the mountains near Middlebury,VT (where I was all those summers), I was still able to get in good hill work.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Ironically, all that work plus speed and long runs were prep for a fast Humpys in August. I always knew it would be cool there (never hot) and the course was fast. There was usually about 4 weeks between Humpy’s and Equinox and I came back and did Equinox on whatever I had left after Humpy’s. I would do 2 hard workouts a week making one of those hard workouts hill repeats every other week. I sometimes did longer races as tempo runs and got in at least 2-3 long runs a month of about 20 miles. West Ridge is great for hill repeats!

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

The scenery, the cool weather, the smells of fall…and the VIEW from the top of the Dome! Love the view just before the Chute too!

Your least favorite part?

The sledding hill at the beginning! The Chute if it snows and ice is involved!

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

The year I PRed. I think I started out as far back as 9th and just kept working my way up. I was pretty stoked.

Describe the worst.

Toss up between trying to negotiate a very slick and snowy Chute in 96 or in 97 when I managed to pick up a chest cold 2 days before the start.

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner?

Is the sky blue?

What are your running goals?

I like to keep challenging myself to continue improving as much as I still can. I thought those days of PRs were done, but I’ve very recently started PRing again at short and long distances. This year’s Bucket List includes going for a 100KPR (that’s done finishing 25th in the Euros and 38th at Worlds), go for a 50k PR again at the World Cup series in a month and try to win Lativan NCs again ( I am a dual national competing for Latvia since 2010). If I do Chicago 50K late fall, I want to go after the CR. Next yr at 100k Euros, I’d like to see if I can eek into the top 20.

Fitness goals?

Maintain or improve on where I currently am. Next year – hopefully altitude training before the 100K Euros in March and get as far under 9 hours as I can. Someday…I’d like to see if I could do a 100miler.

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

Get in hills, intervals, tempos, and long runs. Keep training consistently. It takes time to really build strength and endurance. Race day- never change your plan or try anything new.  This means nutrition wise especially! Go out conservatively in the first half – don’t overwork the climb between 9-13. If you run smart, you should have a nice reserve left to hammer from the bottom of the Chute to the finish. Oh, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the course before you do it. I never got to train on the course before I first ran it, but John Estle was nice enough to drive me along the course before the race so I could see what I was getting into.

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

Yeah, running the race cold turkey 10 days after moving from the FLAT Midwest-OUCH!

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year?

Never say never. I’d actually like to try the 50k sometime.

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

The challenge and the support on the course!

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Jim Brader


Tim Middleton

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

I’ve participated in the marathon about nine times, starting in 1997, and I did the relay (leg 3) in 2002. I worked on the trail with Nat Goodhue in 1963. This year’s Equinox was my first marathon since 2000.  My best marathon time is about 3:41.

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 run the course because I live in Anchorage now.  We have a lot of hills in Anchorage.  My age and injuries have set me back the last six to seven years, but I’m finally healthy, and I run three days a week.  All these runs are hard; no junk miles.  I would do some interval work, and hard mid-distance over hills in Kincaid Park, and then a long run up in the mountains.  I try to avoid asphalt.  And I bike two days a week for two 1/2 to three hours.   I train on skis in the wintertime.

Last year, both Nat Goodhue and I turned 70.  I talked him into coming up here.  For three years, I nagged him to come up here.  He had to perform emergency surgery on my stomach on August 13 of last year so I couldn’t come. No matter what I was going to do it this year.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Workouts on the track or repeats of half-miles on the bike trail.  The second workout is a six or seven mile hard run, maybe even longer.  And a 14 to 16 mile trail run up in the mountains.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Oh, don’t get me started.  I get emotional about this… I love the whole thing.  It’s hard!  But it’s fun.  

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

My favorite part is getting off the chute and running down those hills on the dirt road.  I love running downhill; that’s where I gain my time over other people.  I also love the first leg.  If there’s a least favorite, it’s probably the out and back.  

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

I’ve had faster times; this was the slowest one I’ve ever ran, but today when I crossed the finish line was my best moment.  

Worst moment?  When it’s 24 degrees and snowing up on the hill! But those types of things you have to experience.  

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

My friends would all say that I’m really competitive.  If somebody’s in front of me, they’re there for me to catch, even at my age!  I want to keep staying fit.

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

Train on hills – uphill and downhill.

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

I can’t think of any. I tend to come prepared.  I can go the distance.  I don’t tackle these things lightly.

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 want to participate since it’s the 50th.  I’d like to get Nat Goodhue back and do a relay with him.  

The community aspect of it, and the camaraderie is just amazing.  The scenery and the variation of the course – you’ve got trees, stumps, roots, rocks, gravel, mud, asphalt… The genius of this thing was unrecognized.  

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Mark Simon


Julia and John Mayer


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

Julia: I’ve run the relay three times (the last leg), and I ran the whole thing last year.  

John:  This will be my 11th Equinox in a row.  

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?

Julia: I ran up the Dome once this year, and I run on the trails by our house.

John:  We run hills.  If you don’t do hills, then you’re just not going to do well in the Equinox.  Unfortunately, we do soccer four times a week in the summer, so we can’t make it to a lot of the Thursday night Equinox training runs.  I’m the soccer coach so I have to show up.  Before the soccer years, I used to run pretty regularly with the running group, but now I try to run the Dome a couple times in the summer. Like Julia was saying, we run a bunch of trails around our house, and it’s hilly. 

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Julia:  Trails, mainly.

John:  I think her big workouts are the soccer games and the practices.  I wore my GPS one time for practice and it came out to 4 1/2 miles of running, and that’s four times a week.  My key workouts are to get the distance in.  This year, we managed to do the half marathon and the Gold Discovery run together.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Julia: Saying I ran a marathon.

John: Being out there.  It’s such a huge running community here in Fairbanks and being out there with people I’ve seen for years, and being able to run with Julia the last few years.  It’s a rite of fall for Fairbanks. It’s wonderful.

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

Julia:  The last part because it’s mainly down hill.  The middle part, running up the Dome and the out and back is my least favorite part.

John: My favorite is the bottom of the chute to the road.  The least favorite part is coming out to the road at mile 23.  You have those last few miles that seem to stretch out forever.  

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

Julia: Hitting the wall at mile 18 is my worst, but crossing the finish line is my best.

John:  We were both sick last year.  It was pretty awful.  She had to stop and actually vomit at mile 22 or so!  My best experience was my first Equinox in 2001 which was my very first marathon, and I never ran any part of the Equinox before.  I was a total fool and didn’t know what I was doing!   The next one I ran was in ’07.  Julia was nine then and ran with two of her friends in the relay and that was a wonderful experience, and a perfect day.  It’s humbling to see what an awesome runner she is.  

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

Julia:  I’m not competitive.  The farther I run, the better.  My goals are to run a lot.

John:  Julia’s competitive.  She’s won her age group for forever!  I am not a competitive runner.  I rapidly realized that I’m not going to win any age group awards in this town because there are so many superb runners, but I just love running.   I want to be Corky - I want to run until I can’t run anymore, and I want to run with my grandkids like he does.  

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

Julia:  Just enjoy it.

John:  That’s kind of our philosophy when we run together.  

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

Julia:  No, I was just sick during it.

John:  It takes awhile to learn how to eat properly – not overeat the night before, and have a little nutrition and hydrate along the way.  It took me quite a few marathons to figure that out.

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?

Julia:  Yeah, and I’m doing the Portland Marathon.  It’s fun.  I’ll probably do it for years to come.

John:  I hope to keep running until I can’t move anymore.  We’re doing the full marathon.  Maybe some day I’ll be crazy and do the ultra!

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

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Tristan Sayre


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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David Maxwell

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; and the relay once, the uphill leg.

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?

The real running season starts about a week or two before Beat Beethoven for me, the beginning of April.

A couple of years ago, I tried figure skating and it turned out to be really good cross-training. My legs were in great shape when I started running, and right off the bat, I was running personal bests.

Because I work on campus, some of my favorite runs are the first five miles of the Equinox course and back down the T-field.  I try to run Ester Dome about once a week.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

 I try to get out and run three or four times a week.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

This is the only marathon I’ve ever run.  To me, it’s the perfect time of year – I run really hot, so the temperature is perfect.  I love the trails, I love the weather and the colors… the community spirit.  You have all these people out cheering for you and it just feels good.  It’s a celebration of the summer that’s come to an end, and now you’re ready to get down to the business of  working and the darkness of winter.

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

I really like the the first five miles –  all trail, and there’s roots, you’re running over things, and you’re fast and feeling fresh!  And the ramp (Butrovich Hill) as you come running down to the Patty Center.  You know you’re going to finish, and it’s all down hill.  You can savor that it’s going to be done for another year.

I have a love-hate relationship with the out and back.  It’s fun up there and you know you’re more than halfway done, but the weather is sometimes really cruddy.  You run down that last little bit of it, but then you have to turn around and run right back up it.

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

Last year’s Equinox, I went out too fast, and things were starting to fall apart by mile 13.  Then at mile 18, I had a complete meltdown – leg cramps and I was hobbling along.  It turned into a day hike, but I pulled it together towards the end.  That was very humbling.

Anytime you finish is a lot of fun out on the course.

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

Competitive, but only with myself.  I’m aware of how fast I’ve run it in the past, and I like to run it as fast or a little faster.  This year, if I can run it under four hours, that would be great. I love the way I feel right now in August.  I can eat whatever I want, and I feel fit.

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

Run the course and take it slow.  There’s a big hill in the middle of it!

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

In 2010, I was having a great running season and smashing personal bests all summer long.  I was super optimistic running into the race, but I hadn’t run enough long runs.  Right around the point where it was my longest long run, things were breaking down.

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?

Yeah, I hope so.

It’s such a fun run!  All those reasons I mentioned before – the fall, the people, the celebration of the end of summer.  It just feels great.

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Janna Miller

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

I have race-walked it twice, and I have run it once.  I’ve been on a relay once.

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 would typically start in May.  Basically, once the long run gets up to eight to 10 miles, I start doing pieces of the Equinox as that long run, so it’s a good three months that I’m doing parts of the course.  I’m going up the Dome every week once I get up to 12 miles or more.  I figure you can’t do that too much.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Since I am still concerned about getting injured when I run, I don’t do track workouts very much.  Instead, I emphasize hills.  And the Equinox is so hilly, I figure that’s a good strategy.  Really, I only do two running workouts a week which are hills and my long run.  I cross train the other days.  

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

I like the time of year – it’s pretty, colors are out, the geese are flying, it’s cooler, a comfortable temperature to run.  I like the community spirit, the camaraderie of it.  Seeing all my friends.  I like that it’s on trails; that’s a big draw for me.  I’ve never done any other marathon, and there are others I’d like to do, but I know they’re on pavement and that is so punishing.  So, I don’t know if I’ll ever do a different one!

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

Favorite part is the first five miles because it’s mostly on trails, it’s not terribly rooty or pitted; doesn’t have those washed-out sections or is too narrow.  My least favorite is when you leave Henderson Road and go up the hill (Gold Hill Road).  For me, it’s not the hill, but it’s the pavement, it’s the direct sun.  It’s just where you are in the race, and you’re tired.  The chute is second for me for least favorite.

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

The first year I did it was my first ever marathon, and I was race-walking.  Bruce (Janna’s husband) was so supportive the whole time I was getting ready that summer, and the night before the race he insisted that we watch Chariots of Fire to get motivated.  And then I went to bed, and he must have waited half an hour before he snuck out and put up posters for me a half of a dozen places throughout the course.  I didn’t know any of this was going on!  The most memorable of these signs was at mile 11 where you come out to the road again (on Ester Dome).   He had put up a little sign that said: Janna Miller Passing Zone Ahead, and I actually needed to pass someone right there!  

My worst?  There are spots that are uncomfortable or maybe you stumble or something, but nothing really stands out.

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

Yes, I consider myself a competitive runner.  I don’t consider myself top of the heap, but I try to do my best always.  My number one goal is to be able to run and stay healthy; not get injured.  That’s a very recent thing I discovered that I can do, and I want to stay there.  Fitness goals are to maintain where I am.  I did the Sourdough Triathlon a couple weeks ago, and did really, really well.  I want to be able to continue to do more triathlons than running, and for me that works better to just stay healthy.

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

Do a lot of hills!  

I was race-walking one summer and was on UAF ski trails, and this gal asked if I knew of a good running route around there.  There’s just a network of trails; how do you describe it to someone?  So I tried to describe how you go down the road and go up the T-field…  She got this puzzled look on her face and asked if she could come with me.  Turns out, she was from Atlanta and was in Fairbanks for a month working at the hospital, and she did end up running back with me on my route.  We went back out to Ann’s Greenhouse where I had parked, and on our way out  I told her, “There’s a marathon here in a month; come back and do it!”  I pointed to Ester Dome and said, ” Look!  You have to go up that thing!”  She did!  She actually came back and did the race!  I had to loan her long sleeve everything, because she’s from a hot place and didn’t have anything.  She did the whole thing and was very glad she did it.  I’m still in touch with her; we’ve gone down and visited her.

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

Yeah, but not for my race.

If I’m doing the marathon one year, Bruce rides his mountain bike and brings me drinks, snacks, dry clothes at the top of the hill; and vice versa.  Two to three years ago, it was his turn to run, and I was his mountain bike support.  I left the house and made sure I had all his food, his dry shirt, the camera.  I headed out and saw him at the start; saw him at Ballaine Road; zipped over to meet him at mile 6.  And then on the way to meet him at mile 8, I realized I forgot all his drinks!  And he’s about to go up this big hill and he has no fluid.  So I waited for him at mile 8, told him that I forgot his drinks and that I would see him at mile 17, then I tore home.  He ended up bumming drinks and he did okay with the aid stations there.  I tore up to the top of Ester Dome, which is not fun!  I thought I was going to explode; I was working so hard to get up there.  I got to the top,  and within one minute, here he comes!  I gave him his drink and his shirt and he went down the chute.  I think I burned more calories that day than he did!

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 don’t plan on doing it this year because we’re doing a triathlon about three weeks after that.  The first time I did it, I just wanted to do a marathon.  And since then, I want to do this one and get faster each time so that’s been my motivation.

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Dorli McWayne

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 sure how many times I’ve done the full marathon, but it’s at least 10.  My first was in 1974, when I’d only been here a month and had never run more than 2 consecutive miles in my life.  The then Museum Director, Lu Rowinski, asked me if I was going to participate (as did about 1500 people in those days). He challenged me by saying “even my wife does it, and she’s 40!”   That seemed really old to me at the time , so I did it.  It cost $2 to register and I did finish — just in time for my 2 PM orchestra rehearsal.

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 try to get in longer runs of 12 plus miles starting in May, but almost never do Ester Dome. I run in the woods by my house.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

August is almost always a business travel month for me, so I try to get in a 22 miles run somewhere in the lower 48.

What’s your favorite part of the course?

The trails and going up Ester Dome.

Your least favorite part?

Going down the chute is my least favorite.

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

FINISHING. 

Describe the worst.

Yearly cramping from the chute onward — sometimes all the way to the Geophysical hill. No amount of training, eating, drinking seems to solve this problem, so I’m blaming the chute.

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner?

Only on race days.

What are your running goals/fitness goals?

Just to keep running.

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

Race day — don’t go out too fast and save yourself on the hills; walk them.

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

See above.

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’ll probably be there – again.  Tradition is a great motivator.


Jim Madonna

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 full marathon competitively seven times.  Ran it casually three times back in the 1980s.  I’ve walked/ran it a few times.  Ran the 3rd leg of a relay once.  Back in 2002, ran it in about 3:50 and broke my age division record at age 64 by 7 minutes.

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 always run.  Start training for the Equinox in May.  If I run the Equinox, I run the Mayor’s and the Humpy’s  to prepare my legs for the distance.  Humpy’s is the best way to prepare.  Just before the Humpy’s I start running the out and back. I run at least one leg of the marathon every week.  Come mid-July I run the whole marathon and run it about 6 times during the summer.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Racing is important and I run the series.  Attend the track workouts on Tuesdays and try to fit in another during the week.  I run every day.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

The banquet!  Relaxing afterwards and being around all the kids.  

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

Love the chute.  Best part is the last leg of the marathon where I can maintain a steady pace around 8:30 minute miles, except for the powerline trail between miles 22-23. Otherwise, there’s too much variation in terrain, but that’s what makes the Equinox so wonderful.  

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

It was back in 2002, the year I set the age division record for 60-64 and Jim Lee was out there cheering us on, and he said “unbelievable” as I ran by him.  This was very encouraging and I knew what I was about to achieve.  Worst moment is the sadness I feel around mile 25.  It’s a sadness that takes me over because I’ve trained so hard and it’s all about to end, the race is almost done.

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

Yes.  Any person that beats me in a race needs to know that I gave it my best.  I run to stay healthy.

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

If you live in Fairbanks, run the trail.  Do races for your speed work.  Run Humpy’s.  For people who don’t live here, just go out and have fun.  It’s hard to be 100% competitive if you don’t know the terrain.

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

I’ve ran up the very first hill at the very beginning of the marathon and that’s a mistake.  I’ve learned to run to the hill, and walk fast up 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 may do the relay if I could run it with a mixed group of 70+ year olds.  I’m motivated to run it because it is the most grueling.


Tracey Martinson

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

I have run both the marathon and the relay.  I have run the marathon 8 times and the relay once (leg 3). 

How do you train for this race and when do you start training?

I start officially training for the Equinox in mid-May, about 16-18 weeks out.

Do you mostly run the course during the summer and on trails?

I spend a lot of time running the course during the summer, but also do some track work.

How often do you incorporate the Dome into your runs?

I run the Dome at least every other weekend as part of my long run.  I fit it into my 15-20 mile runs as often as possible.  I will also sometimes run it during the week, usually in August.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

My favorite thing is just that it’s the hometown race!  The trails are beautiful, the course is anything but boring, and the people are fantastic.

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

My favorite part is probably the Out and Back, for its sheer ruggedness and diversity.  My least favorite is definitely Henderson Road, with its relentless downhill and banked sides.

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

The best moment was probably the year when I had trained really hard for Humpy’s and was in really good shape, and I remember getting to Mile 19 of the Equinox and thinking:  Oh, only 7 more miles to go.  And then getting to Mile 23 and thinking:  Oh, only 3 more miles to go.  I was not the least bit tired and felt like I could go on and on.  It wasn’t my best time ever (my ankles kept cramping), but there was no mental battle whatsoever.The worst moment was probably last year when I had to drop out at Mile 9.5 due to dizziness.  That was a total bummer.  Before that, the worst moment was the year a whole bunch of people got stung by yellow jackets.  I got three stings, including one on my head.  By Mile 12 I was feeling sick to my stomach… but I finished.  I remember going down the alder trail and saying aloud:  I feel sick.  And then looking around to see if anyone heard me.  It didn’t get any worse, and I didn’t actually get sick, so I figured I could keep on going.  

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

I think of myself as a competitive runner.  I may not win any races, but I can usually do ok in my age group.  My current goal is to run a PR in the Portland Marathon in October.  I wish I could run the Equinox, but my trail dizziness is still not resolved, so I figure I have to stick to pavement. 

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

My best advice is to plan ahead and stick to the plan.  You need to do at least one 20 miler, 3 weeks out from the Equinox.  Ideally you have a second one 5 weeks out.  But you have to work up to that distance, so you need to start upping your long runs in May.  I also recommend doing your long runs on the Equinox course, and running as much as possible on trails during the week.  Don’t avoid pavement necessarily, as there is plenty of that on Henderson Road, but training on flat pavement all summer will not help you in the Equinox.  You should go down the Chute at least 4 times over the summer–if you go up Ester Dome and do the Out and Back and go down the Chute during your long runs, you’ll be fine. 

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

 Hmmm…  no, not really. 

Any plans on running the race this year?  Why do you participate in this race?  What keeps you motivated?

I would dearly love to run this year, but am going to run Portland instead.  I love to participate in the Equinox because it’s just such a great race.  I love the challenge and the scenery, and seeing a lot of people that I know.  This year I am coaching the Team In Training group, so I am excited to help them achieve their goals.  What keeps me motivated to run is that most of my close friends are runners.  If I quit, who would I hang out with? 


Lisa Morris

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

I have run the full marathon 6 times, done the relay twice (legs 1 and 3), and hiked it once.

How do you train for this race and when do you start training?

I train for the race using a plan created by the New York City Marathon. and I start training 22 weeks prior to the race.

Do you mostly run the course during the summer and on trails?

I only run the course during the summer because a good portion of it is closed to runners in the winter because of ski season.  I almost always run on trails because the course is a trail run.

How often do you incorporate the Dome into your runs?

I only incorporate the Dome when the length of a training run includes it or if conditions are too smoky on the flats.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Favorite thing about the race is that its local and doesn’t require a plane ticket to run it.

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

Favorite part of the course is the first 9 miles.  Least favorite is from mile 17-25.

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

There has not really been a “best moment” for me.  All my Equinox races have been about equal.  The same goes for the worst.  Every Equinox I end up falling, getting scraped up, and generally exacerbate existing injuries and create new ones.  So they are all the same.  

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

I am not a competitive runner anymore.  My goal for any race is simply to finish.

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

Don’t.  Or at least do another marathon first.  This one is really quite mean and you will get a time that is significantly slower than you would at another race.  That can be demoralizing.

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

To my knowledge, I have not made any training errors or race day flubs for this race.  Its just a cruel course in general.

Any plans on running the race this year?  Why do you participate in this race?  What keeps you motivated?

I do not plan to run the race this year.  I have participated in the past because I’m too stupid not too.  Motivation is always the finish line.

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