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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