The 51st running of the Equinox Marathon is shaping up to be another competitive affair — and if the forecast is to be believed there may be snow on the ground for the first time since 1996.
For the women, Melissa Lewis of Fairbanks and Christy Marvin of Palmer return from last year’s Top 5. Lewis has three runner-up finishes on her resume since 2009. Marvin is the reigning Mount Marathon champion who this season accomplished the unprecedented feat of sweeping all six races in the Alaska Mountain Runners’ Grand Prix.
Other women with the pedigree to do well include former UAF runner Theresia Schnurr, former UAF swimmer and runner Kinsey (Laine) Apperson, Anchorage’s Chrissy May and new mother Davya Flaharty.
For the men, only three-time champion Matias Saari is back from last year’s Top 5, but Stian Stensland (twice a runner-up), Cody Priest (fifth in 2011) and newcomer Ben Marvin of Palmer will also likely run at or near the front.
Several age-group records are vulnerable with the likes of Jim Madonna, Fred Moore of Seward, Roger Sayre, Dorli McWayne and Jane Lanford entered.
In the fifth Equinox Ultramarathon, 2011 champion Gary Holton will have his hands full with David Johnston of Willow and Fairbanks’ A.J. Schirack and Ron Koczaja.
For the women, two-time ultra champ Laura McDonough of Anchorage is joined by Shawn McTaggert of Anchorage and Anna Worden and Tina Devine of Fairbanks.
The race falls on Sept. 21, exactly fifty years from the inaugural Equinox in 1963.