For many years, she hosted a Saturday morning running group, virtually always followed by food and coffee. She, along with Bobbi Fyten (Smith), edited the RCN newsletter, Running Briefs, from its inception in 1993 until 1996. The published under the pseudonyms “Muffy” and “Babs” and endeavored to report on the funny side of running in Fairbanks. In addition to prodding older runners out the door on Saturday mornings, Monte is also very involved in running activities for kids. She co-directs the Equinox Kids Marathon and also assists with the Kids Cross Country Runs every other Friday evening during the summer. She is also a long-time volunteer official for high school track and field, doing everything from being a line judge and helping at the clerk’s tent, to moving hurdles and helping with the high jump, discus, and shot put. If there is a job that needs to be done, chances are good that you will find Monte either raising her hand or already over there with her sleeves rolled up. She is a behind-the-scenes volunteer, quietly taking on tasks and making things happen. Her latest volunteer efforts include serving on the Equinox Marathon Advisory Committee and being the prime organizer of the Equinox bib pickups.
In addition to her activities in the running community, Monte has also been a steadfast volunteer for such groups as Hospice and Mush for Kids. She is a Past President of Sunrisers Rotary, and is a trained mediator. Even though she is retired from her job at the Alaska Department of Labor, Monte does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon! Last year she went on a trek to Macchu Pichu, and this fall she is off tromping around Australia and New Zealand.
Not content to be “just a runner”, Monte has also participated in a few triathlons. One of my favorite stories about Monte involves a triathlon. She was participating in the Danskin Women’s Triathlon in Seattle a few years ago, and told me that during the swim in Lake Washington, there were race officials out in little boats along with the swimmers. They would paddle up next to you and ask you if you wanted a noodle. As in a “swim noodle”—one of those foam tubes that kids use as a flotation aid in the swimming pool. She told me later that, in a swimming-induced haze of oxygen-deprivation, she thought these people in boats offering noodles were angels of some sort, and that she was quite glad to take them up on their offer for part of the way. When I think of Monte and all that she has done for me and for the community, I remember this story. She is, in her own way, an angel offering “swim noodles” to anyone in need.
by Tracey Martinson