The Fairbanks Equinox Marathon

Last weekend a group of Polar Field Services/CPS staff gathered to watch the Equinox marathon on a crisp and burnished fall Saturday in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Equinox begins and ends at the University of Alaska, and is famous for its brutal course. For the second year in a row, colleague Christie Haupert was among the entrants (Cody Johnson was on a river trip—more on that in another post).  When he saw her sprinting toward the finish line, Marin Kuizenga’s boy, Matteo, 6, said, "Wow, that's someone who could teach me running.” True dat,‘Teo.

Here’s what Christie said about her run.

I finished in 3:58 (same time as last year).  I’m actually not too sure how I feel about the run. Despite the same finish time as last year, I had many more highs and lows this year during the race, a true testament to how the same 26.2 miles can never be the same. . . . The Equinox Marathon is a very special race for Fairbanksans. So many friends and neighbors not only support but partake. The entire event is spent running alongside friends and at every mile my name is called out in encouragement. The marathon is truly a special event—so many people doing it for so many different reasons. The energy is incredible and the Equinox Marathon (being one of the most grueling and challenging around) stands out above many.

I think the best story of the day wasn’t what I went through, but rather what my friend supporting me experienced. My friend Chad, who happens to work for the Toolik Field Station, agreed to meet me at pre-determined locations along the course to feed and water me. He was going to ride his bike. Our first meeting spot was to be four miles into the race…but when I went by (only a minute faster than I expected to be), Chad was nowhere to be seen. I worried he was late and this was going to set in motion a complete failure of my support. Four miles later, I found Chad waiting for me, only on a different bike. As he biked along for the next quarter mile he gave me the short version of his previous hour – charged by a moose, flat tire, traded bike, made it in time to meet me at mile 8. Chad was there for me the rest of the race and I really enjoyed looking forward to seeing him and getting the food and water I needed. Post race, over a celebratory beer, I learned that upon leaving the start, Chad encountered a cow moose on the trail, with two calves. The moose stood her ground, despite his attempt to charge her while making noise. He decided to take an alternate route and quickly noticed that his rear tire was going flat. The only way to meet me was to get another bike. He was running so late by that point, he had to put the bike in the van he had driven [from Toolik] and drive the bike to the 8-mile spot. Resourceful!

Congratulations to our super girl for finishing first in her division.