Don Kiely – Spirit of the Equinox 2023

The winner of the Spirit of the Equinox Award for 2023 is Don Kiely. Below is the presentation by Ed Debevec, who used personal knowledge and his enormous creativity to make it a fun and memorable award ceremony!

The Spirit of the Equinox Award was established in 1986 in memory of George Bloom.

Georgie ran the Equinox Marathon 18 consecutive years and felt that it was the ultimate running event. The award is to exemplify what Georgie stood for in the running community: someone who was always willing to lend a hand, organize a race, offer an encouraging word, and was quick with a smile and a wave.

The award recipients are selected by a committee consisting of the members of the local running community and one person from Georgie’s immediate family. The recipients of this award are not required to have run the Equinox Marathon. In fact, they need not even be runners. The committee bases their selection of the recipient on these criteria:

  • Contribution to the running community
  • How inspirational the recipient is to others
  • Overall attitude and enthusiasm toward others

2023 Spirit of the Equinox

September’s chill is in the air
The golden trees will soon be bare
When day and night find balance in the fall
We ran as many, we ran as one
Our mettle tested and victories won
We celebrate the spirit in us all

The fastest times are honored here
For those endowed with a turbo gear
We stand in awe for what they can achieve
But the spirit lives in more than speed
It’s found in giving where there is need
And contributing to our community

The person chosen for the award this year
Has found a home, that much is clear
Came north for a year and stayed for thirty, so far
Running races, hiking trails
Walking dogs with wagging tails
A familiar face and a Fairbanks superstar

An author, speaker, computer wizard
A Haul Road tour guide in sun or blizzard
And a director with the Pioneer Air Museum
Ensuring the Folk School continues to run
A master of websites, RCN is just one
These are some of the places you might happen to see’em

No stranger to the local runs
Like Chena River and Midnight Sun
And eleven times around the Equinox course
And sometimes on a foreign path
From Scotland’s challenging Cape Wrath
To the Klondike Relay from Skagway to Whitehorse

A commissioner with Senior Games
The 5 and 10K are his domain
In top hat and tails he ran to Beethoven’s song
A race director extraordinaire
For an endurance run without compare
That’s six, twelve, or twenty-four hours long

I expect by now you’ve figured it out
But lest there remain any hint of doubt
I’ll say that he’s held in regard and respect most highly
The honor has been given to me
To present the Twenty Twenty-Three
Spirit of the Equinox Award to Don Kiely