History: Equinox Marathon record broken after 35 years

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) History was made at the 57th Equinox Marathon Saturday morning through the rain and mud.

Aaron Fletcher, of Anchorage, broke a 35-year-old Equinox Marathon record when he crossed the finish line at 2 hours, 38 minutes and 14 seconds.

The prior record of 2:41:30, held by Stan Justice in 1984, was eclipsed by over 3 minutes when Fletcher trekked through the poor conditions, on his way to the record books.

“I knew I had a shot at it [the record], weather willing, and I am pleased to be able to get it, I am really excited about it,” Fletcher said after making history. “I split under five minutes miles down the hill and once I got to mile 22 and I saw I had to run a seven minute pace to get the record, I was like 'I got this.' I knew for sure then, I just had to get to the finish."

Over 1,000 competitors took on the 26.2 mile course, which consisted of trails through Ester Dome, including a 1,500 foot incline that featured snow and mud.

“Oh, it was so cold,” Fletcher said. “Windy, head winds, snowy, yeah it was pretty miserable, I couldn't wait for it to end. I'll have to come do it again on a better weather year and see if I can lower the record a bit more." Fletcher added with a laugh.

Fletcher ran cross country and was a track and field member for Brigham Young University from 2009-16. He is a qualifier for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which take place in February of 2020.

Placing first among women was Palmer’s Christy Marvin, who clocked in at 3:23:59. Marvin broke the women’s course record last year, when she finished in 3:15:07. With the win in 2019, Marvin has tied the marathon record with six titles (Matias Saari, Stan Justice, Bob Murphy). Earning silver in the women’s division was Seward’s Hannah Lafleur at 3:25:18, followed by Katie Krehlik’s 3:25:59 time.

Runner-up on the men’s side was two-time defending champion, Allan Spangler, coming in at 2:55:21. Bronze went to Anchorage’s Cody Priest, who clocked in at 3:00:58.

Stan Justice is known as “The King of the Equinox”, and rightfully so. In the 1980’s Justice won the Equinox six times, including his then recording setting performance.
Prior to the record-breaking performance Saturday, it had been one of Alaska's longest-standing running records. It was truly, a monumental day for Alaskan Long-distance running.

“It is totally awesome,” Race directory Stacy Fisk said. “It is kind of surreal, I can’t believe it just happened, because you never think it is going to happen in conditions like this.

Fisk was not surprised so many participants took on the course in unfavorable conditions.

That is what makes Fairbanks good, the community comes out regardless rain, snow or shine. It is just amazing how people still come out, even on the [Ester] Dome, they are lined up along the road, and that is just how the way Fairbanks is.”

Fletcher ran cross country and was a track and field member for Brigham Young University from 2009-16. He is a qualifier for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which take place in February of 2020.

It was a historic day for the running community and for one of the most respected and storied marathons in the state.

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