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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