Category Archives: male interviews

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


Patrick Carroll

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

I’ve done it the last two years.  The first year I did it with my son,  and we had never done any kind of long distance race before.  Last year, I did it 50 minutes faster than the year before.

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?

Years ago, a friend of mine and I would run a lot of short races, and never thought much about doing anything over 10K.  I’m a two time cancer survivor, and at some point I figured I wanted to eat right and exercise.  Running seemed like a very healthy thing to do.  I don’t know how I got into this long distance thing.  It was there and I wanted to go for it and do it.  After I did the Equinox the first time, I thought I’d never finish, and when I finished after 7 hours 2 minutes, I collapsed, but immediately afterwards I decided I’d do it again the next year!

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I’m not a cold weather runner, so it’s kinda tough sometimes.  I start off with the short races and build up.  I like running the ski trails around the University.  I don’t have any regimen that I follow.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Just doing it!  I just jumped up an age bracket this year, so hopefully I’ll finish better in that bracket.

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

I like the area around the Musk Ox Farm because it has nice views and you can still feel your body at that point in time.

Least favorite is the out and back.  It’s a killer.

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

Favorite part is coming out of the trees and seeing the finish line. 

Worst moment was last year going through the ski trails and I hit some roots and fell twice.  It didn’t stop me from running, but it was a nasty fall.

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

No, the only competitiveness is against myself and to beat my son! I like to beat my time from the last race.

Running has become a fitness goal to me.  I want to run for life.

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

Just do it.  It’s an accomplishment.  Anybody can just go out and do it.  If you want to do it competitively, running is a kind of sport that takes awhile for training, so you want to slowly work your way up to the point to where you can run it most of the way.

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

I should have paced myself better the first time I ran it.  I was running with my son and pushing it at first, and it was killer trying to finish it.  I think if you start off with an even pace, you’ll end up doing a lot better.

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, three years in a row, and I plan on beating last year’s time by a good half hour at least! 

It’s part of my training regimen for staying healthy.

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Mark Wood


David James

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

I’ve completed the Equinox three times, I did the middle leg of the relay before that, and I’ve also done the post-race clean up with the Fairbanks Cycle Club several times (the best part of that is you’re essentially done at mile 17 and spend most of the rest of the way just hanging on to the brakes and grinning).

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 run year round, and because I live near the Dome, I go up and down it quite a few times a year.  Since 2009 I’ve been running the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon in June as well, so I’ve got the miles in early.  In July I go back to the hill, and by August I’m doing long hauls that include the Dome.  I also do most of the Tuesday Night Mountain Bike Rides, and since many of those run three to five hours with lots of climbing, they’re great for keeping up your stamina.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Mostly I just keep running.  In August I try to do at least three twenty miles-plus runs that include the Dome and the out and back.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

There are a lot people I know running, the morning chill is always invigorating, and the scenery is great.  Plus it’s perfect for Fairbanks; this is an extreme town full of extreme people, so it makes sense that we would have one of the most extreme marathon courses in the country.  My friend Tom Clark and I have what we call the “dumb scale” for certain mountain bike rides that are so idiotic they rise above the normal level of fun and become truly epic.  The same scale could be applied to the Equinox.  It has an above average dumb factor, and I mean that in the best way possible.

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

It’s a cliche, but the best part for me is the trail above Ester, after the Alder Chute.  It’s insanely beautiful that time of year.  The Alder Chute itself, however, is a heavy price to pay for getting to that section.

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

The best was my third trip.  I felt like I was finally figuring out how to pace myself, and I got a second wind at the bottom of the Chute that lasted all the way to the finish.  I cut nearly half an hour off my previous time.

The worst moment was on the out and back during my first run.  My calves cramped up solid.  I had to repeatedly stop and stretch while the minutes ticked by.

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

I’ve never been very competitive.  I’m just an old fat guy who shows up.  I ran my first ever marathon (the Equinox) at forty-three, so I’m pretty new to this game.  The combination of inexperience, age, fifteen or twenty extra pounds, and medication I have to take for a heart arrhythmia leaves me at a slow pace.  But I figure while most people never even try to run a race like this, I’ve finished every time I’ve entered, so by that standard, I’m doing OK.

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

Some days you go out for a run and it just doesn’t work.  You bonk long before you should.  I used to get angry and discouraged when that happened, but now I know it means to take a couple of days off, then hit it again.  Invariably the next run makes up for the bad one.

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

The first time I went up the Dome too quickly.  I passed all these people and thought, “Man, they’re slowing down already.”  I didn’t think that anymore after most of them passed me on Gold Hill when they still had mojo and mine was spent.

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 just paid up, so there’s no going back now.  When I first ran the Equinox I looked at it as a one time only thing.  I just wanted to see if I could do it.  Once I answered that question there didn’t seem to be any good reason not to keep doing it.

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Bob Vitale


Jay Baxter

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 start training in the spring, and I gradually work up to doing hills.  I don’t do hills right at first.  I’ll run on the flats and then I’ll run bumpy roads.  I’ll start running on Ester Dome about six weeks before the marathon.  I probably do seven to 10 runs up Ester Dome and back.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

At first I’ll just do six mile runs in the spring, and gradually work up to eight mile runs, and try to run at least every other day.   I’ll start doing longer runs maybe two months before the race, and I work up to a couple 20 mile runs several weeks out so I can taper.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Getting to be in better physical shape.  It just makes you feel great all around when you’re in good shape.

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

My favorite part is probably Ester Dome.  I don’t really like running up the hill, but I like looking at all the scenery and running on trails and through the woods, enjoying the peace and quiet out there.  Least favorite part is the last stretch at the end running on the pavement on Gold Hill and I’m tired out.  

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

My favorite moment was in last year’s race.  I trained pretty well for it.  Even though I didn’t feel especially good the morning of the race, it was fun to get out there and realize I was prepared for it, and to be able to finish in a fairly good time.  

Right towards the end, there’s some steep hills, and when you run into those, it’s a little discouraging.  You have to realize the finish line is just right there and you have to keep going.  

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

Some years I run competitively, but I’m probably not going to be very competitive this year.  Last  year, I ran it in 3:30, and that’s probably going to be my personal best for awhile.  I’m running it more for fitness this year.  Once you’ve run it, you realize that it’s a good thing to do to keep in shape.  I’m going to try to run it more often, and try to run regularly.

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

Start out slowly.  Don’t try to do too much right away.  You want to have done some fairly long runs, maybe six or 10 mile races, or even longer races before you try something like the Equinox.  So, do some other races.

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

Once I tried to run it when I wasn’t trained up very good.  I got about halfway, and I hit the wall.  I didn’t have anymore energy left, and at that point I had to drop out.  That was a bummer.  After that, I alway wanted to make sure I was prepared for 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 do.

I think of the race as training.  Even though it is hard, afterwards you have one more long run under your belt, and you’ve done that much more training.  The next time you run it, it will be a little bit easier, and you’ll feel better.  The more you train, the better you feel.  It really does make the race enjoyable, even if it’s hard.

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Bob Jordan

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

I think I’ve done the relay twice, and I’ve done the full marathon four 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?

On a typical year when I was running the whole marathon, I would start training after ski season, so usually after the first of May, and I’d run four to five times a week.  I’d try to do sections of the Equinox course throughout the summer, and run the Dome three or four times.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I would do the men’s interval training on Tuesday nights; and I would run three of four more times the rest of the week, both distance running and a couple of tempo runs.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

It’s the day, the other runners, the crowd cheering you on.  It’s the big grand finale of the running season.  

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

My favorite is just before the Musk Ox Farm.  There’s a nice, level downhill area through the trees.  Least favorite is the 2nd leg up the hill (Ester Dome).

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

The best moment is when I broke the four hour mark on my last full marathon.  My worst is after a year of dedicated training, I missed it by a couple of minutes because I got a cramp at the bottom of the chute and it cost me some time.

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

Two years ago, very competitive.  I’ve had to slow down the last couple of years – I like to be competitive, but physically, I cannot.  If I go out and train,  I tend to do the best that I can.

I want to stay in shape year round with skiing and running.

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

I would do all of Steve’s Equinox Training Runs.  You get a good introduction to the Equinox, a good group of people to run with, and a lot of encouragement.

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

Not drinking enough water along the course.  I now make a point to stop at every water stop, drink a full cup of water, and carry on.  Even though I’m stopping and walking for a few seconds, it pays off and you don’t get dehydrated.

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’m going to run the relay this year.  It’s a special year:  I’m going to run a relay with team members I’ve run before with, and the rest of my family is going to run the relay themselves.  And it will be on my birthday, too!  

It’s a sense of satisfaction when you’re done. Every year, I ask myself why do I do this!  Then the next year, I’m ready to do it again!

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Matt Hays

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 full marathon last year for the first time.  I didn’t do as well as I thought I’d do, but I finished it around 6 hours 15 minutes.  I lost both big toenails after the chute, and basically, ran/walked the rest of the way to the finish line.  I wanted to quit, but that would have felt worse.

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 started running for the first time in my life while on vacation April 1, 2010, and I’ve been running ever since for stress relief.  I mainly do trail running with my dogs.  I hate running on the roads.  I was going to do the relay with my brother last year and for some odd reason, I wanted to do the whole thing, so I got a late start in training around July 2010.  We did up to an 18 mile run.  I ran the Dome numerous times.  

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Last  year, it was getting out and running the trails. I did more long distance running than hill-training or fartleks or intervals.  One thing I’m doing differently this year is running without my GPS and heart rate monitor.  It’s more relaxing, and there’s more freedom to just enjoy.  

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Probably the people.  That was my first marathon, and I want to say it was my first race.  I’ve walked in the Midnight Sun Run… Talking with everybody in the race is my favorite part.

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

Least favorite is Henderson Road and Goldhill Road.   I don’t like running on pavement with the cars.  It adds a lot of stress. I like being out on the trails, so my favorite is being out on any part of the Equinox that has trees.

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

It’s back to the people.  Last year, there was a guy around 80 years old and that Equinox was his 200th marathon, and he’s ran a marathon in every state twice.  There was a military guy with an 80 pound rucksack on, doing the ultra.  I was with him and talking about his experience.  

My feet actually grew over the summer, and I should have gotten bigger shoes.  I didn’t, and I paid the price by losing my toenails.

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

I wouldn’t say I’m a competitive runner, not yet at least.  My main goal is to keep up with my older brother.  I just want to beat my time, and get faster.  It seems like a lot of these guys out here are seasoned runners; these older guys are out there kicking my butt.  It humbles me.  I know what to expect out there on the trails, and I want to beat my time from last year. Fitness goals are to stay in shape and get some relief from a job that’s sometimes stressful.

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

Just finish it no matter what.  If you have to walk, then walk or walk/run. Just hammer it out and finish it.  The reward will be worth more than the pain you’re going through.  My daughter was waiting for me at the finish, and I got to run with her and hold her hand coming up the hill through the finish line.  

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

Not really.  I was pretty well organized and knew what to drink and how often.  I didn’t necessarily hit the wall.  It was just the pain of my feet.  I should have gotten some proper shoes to run in.

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!

Lack of common sense!  This is much more than just running a race, it’s something special. It’s a challenge, and I like to set a goal because it keeps me going.

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Mike Hays

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

I’ve only run the relay once.  I did the 2nd leg last year, and I’ve actually only been running for a couple of years. My brother wanted the both of us to run the whole thing, but my work load wouldn’t allow me to train enough, so my wife and sister-in-law teamed up and we did the relay together.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t do more – I didn’t realize that you could do two legs. 

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?

We ran the course two times total, but not all at once.  We typically did one long run a week, longest up to 18 miles.  Usually they were around nine to 12 miles.  

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

The long runs, and trying to learn about nutrition and eating and drinking along the way.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Being out there with everybody.  Taking off with the big group is exciting.

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

I like the first 2/3 of the race, even down through the chute.  The worst part would be Gold Hill Road.  It’s long and monotonous. 

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

I really enjoyed the out and back, and seeing everybody come back.  The camaraderie there was great.  Being out there was enjoyable, and I had no bad experiences.

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

I’m not a competitive runner, but I hope to maintain year-round fitness through skiing, hockey, and running.

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

Train!  Run the course, and be prepared.  I’m going to learn a lot this year because it’s going to be my full marathon year.  

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

I would say no, but I only did a short section, so I’m thinking this year is going to be a learning curve.

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 of completing it.  I know it’s the second hardest one in the U.S., and I enjoy it.  I’m looking forward to it!

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Ned Rozell

Ned with daughter, Anna after the 2009 Equinox.


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

I’ve done the full marathon many times, the first in 1987, after my first full year in Fairbanks. I then learned how to recover from a training bonk with a can of pork & beans.

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 start training when I smell the musk of highbush cranberries. I don’t do much of the course or Ester before the race. That way, the course is a friend I haven’t seen for a year.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

It’s nice to get the Gold Discovery Run in, but it doesn’t always happen.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

The leaves, the fall smells, the people cheering you on, the spiritual vibe of the passage from light to dark seasons. Seeing people like Bob Baker, Andy Sterns, Dave Covey, Jim Brader, Andy Holland, Ted Fathauer, Tina Devine, Jane LeBlond, Kristen Bartecchi, Johnny Estle, Stan Justice at the train crossing and so many others who are always there.

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

Favorite—the mining trail from the chute to Henderson. Running on a gold carpet, and so quiet.

Least—the turn on to Gold Hill and that toothy pavement.

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

Finishing is always the bomb. And I’ve had tears in my eyes just going up the UAF ski hill, knowing I’m doing it again. That cannon makes me cry.

The worst year was ’99 when a since-healed meniscus injury kept me out of the race.

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

I felt more and more competitive in the Equinox each year until 2000. That year, I was knocking off personal bests in every race in a fun competition with Kristen. But that changed suddenly in August, when my dad died. I went to New York for a few months and missed the race. I lost a bit of my competitive snap after that, and it hasn’t returned in running. But I’ve shifted to something even more fun than competing for seventh in my age group. The last few years I’ve done the race with my daughter Anna. She was 3 in 2009 when we first charioted, piggybacked and walked the course with our dog Poops. I did it because I wanted to, but she enjoyed it too, so much that we finished last year when she was 4. Shattered the nine-hour mark both years. They still gave us a patch.

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

If you want to kick butt, learn to run fast on downhills, and run more uphills than those you hope to beat. If you are just out for a good day, consider walking with a bit of jogging mixed in. That’s what most of the participants did in the late ‘60s, and I can tell you it’s less suffering (and for me, more fun).

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

Skimpy nylon shorts when it snowed my first year. The pain was temporary.

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?

Me, Anna, and Poops (and maybe Kristen) will be there at the tail of the ski hill procession again. The Equinox is part of my Alaska life I can’t miss. It’s Steve Bainbridge’s fault for selling me a lifetime bib.

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Ted Fathauer

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

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

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

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

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

I have none.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah.

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

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