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Tim Middleton helped blaze the Equinox Marathon trail

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Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 10:35 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of interviews conducted by Fairbanks runner Dee Daniels leading up to the 50th annual Equinox Marathon on Sept. 15.

Describe your experience with the Equinox. Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra? How many times?

I’ve participated in the marathon about nine times, starting in 1997, and I did the relay (leg 3) in 2002. I worked on the trail with Nat Goodhue in 1963. This year’s Equinox was my first marathon since 2000. My best marathon time is about 3:41.

When do you start training for this race? How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training? How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?

I don’t run the course because I live in Anchorage now. We have a lot of hills in Anchorage. My age and injuries have set me back the last six to seven years, but I’m finally healthy, and I run three days a week. All these runs are hard; no junk miles. I would do some interval work, and hard mid-distance over hills in Kincaid Park, and then a long run up in the mountains. I try to avoid asphalt. And I bike two days a week for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I train on skis in the wintertime.

Last year, both Nat Goodhue and I turned 70. I talked him into coming up here. For three years, I nagged him to come up here. He had to perform emergency surgery on my stomach on August 13 of last year so I couldn’t come. No matter what I was going to do it this year.

What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?

Workouts on the track or repeats of half-miles on the bike trail. The second workout is a six or seven mile hard run, maybe even longer. And a 14 to 16 mile trail run up in the mountains.

What’s your favorite thing about this race?

Oh, don’t get me started. I get emotional about this. … I love the whole thing. It’s hard! But it’s fun.

What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part is getting off the chute and running down those hills on the dirt road. I love running downhill; that’s where I gain my time over other people. I also love the first leg. If there’s a least favorite, it’s probably the out and back.

Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.

I’ve had faster times; this was the slowest one I’ve ever ran, but today when I crossed the finish line was my best moment.

Worst moment? When it’s 24 degrees and snowing up on the hill! But those types of things you have to experience.

Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?

My friends would all say that I’m really competitive. If somebody’s in front of me, they’re there for me to catch, even at my age! I want to keep staying fit.

What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?

Train on hills — uphill and downhill.

Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?

I can’t think of any. I tend to come prepared. I can go the distance. I don’t tackle these things lightly.

Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country! What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?

I want to participate since it’s the 50th. I’d like to get Nat Goodhue back and do a relay with him.

The community aspect of it, and the camaraderie is just amazing. The scenery and the variation of the course — you’ve got trees, stumps, roots, rocks, gravel, mud, asphalt … The genius of this thing was unrecognized.

To see more interviews go to www.equinoxinterviews.word press.com.

Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.

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