Early Bird Equinox Predictor
Defending champ (and 2007 runner-up) Harald Aas will not be back. He's in Norway, said to be prepping for an outrageous ultra run of some type. Last year's runner up (and 2007 champ) Matias Saari of course is here and in hope of winning again. Matias had another excellent mountain running season, topped off by an improbable (due to Brent Knight's--who had been minutes ahead--collapse with 200 meters to go) but nonetheless outstanding win at Mount Marathon in Seward. I saw Matias last month at a high school cross country race, and he said he was looking forward to getting back to doing "speed-work" for the Equinox. Interesting take.
Strabel is out (see comment #1 below)
Into the mix this year will be UAF graduate student Stian Stensland, who has run an impressive string of short races (5K and 10K). Guess they had an informal time trial at the old Musk Ox Trail Run course but I didn't hear the results, or that they were even going to have it...so I don't know how Stensland held up over 12 rugged miles. He's fit and relatively young, so watch out.
Also, Tom Ritchie from Anchorage, while not yet listed, has said on his blog that he'll be there. Ritchie ran 2:37 at Boston last spring and will definitely be a factor here on September 19.
Win: Saari - always hungry for a win and now a wily veteran 2:50:30
Place: wow, this is going to be close Stensland 2:50:47
Show: Ritchie (2:53:11) will be a factor, nipping at Saari's heels
Masters Men: Kramer, Brinegar, and Lindberg. No doubt Kramer and Brinegar will be going for sub 3 and Frank Bonzanich's 25 year old record of 2:58:02. A tall order, but I do think we'll see a sub 3. Lindberg has raced infrequently since a 2:46 at Boston, but ran 3:02 here last year.
Last year Laura Brosius won easily in her debut and she'll take it again. The question is will she beat Sue Faulkner's all time record of 3:18:15? I think so
If the results from previous local races are any indication the battle for 2nd should be a good one. Jane Leblond, one of only two women to break 3:20, has had a resurgent season (after years of battling injuries and graduate school). But Charity Walker has also been consistent this year and the two have gone back and forth at distances ranging from 5K to 16.3 miles. I haven't seen evidence of any of the top Anchorage women heading this way.
Win: Brosius and a new record in 3:16:07
Place: Leblond, experience on the EQ counts and she has it 3:22:45 (leblond is doing the relay) www.newsminer.com
Place: Walker, first timer will impress, 3:24:11
Show: Kristen Rozelle, sets a course PR 3:28:54
Masters Women: Dorli McWayne and Jane Lansford, now in their mid-50s might just take it. Sue Faulkner, also in club 50, is doing the ultra.
Traditionally the relay has not been very competitive and more for fun, although there have been some excellent legs. But last year, for the first time, a relay team beat the first male with a 2:42.54, a record by nearly 10 minutes. Their time also challenged Stan Justice's individual 2:41:30. This was a good team (the Aas Beaters), with UAF runners Chris Eversman (2:40 marathoner), Marius Korthaur (NCAA ski champ), and Einar Often (one of the 'Nooks's best runners), it also shows why Justice's and Pat Cross's 2:42:20 have not been approached by anyone for 25 years now.
I'm on a good team this year--no doubt over my head--with college freshman Werner Hoefler and David Norris taking the first two legs. Talk about improbable, how did I get myself into this? Combine their ages and I'm still 15 years older. My goal was to set up the first masters team to break 3 hours. That's all. But that stalled, and so here we are.
Only two teams (both last year) have ever broken 2:50. We have a solid shot at that, and that's all I'm saying.