Runners push through heat and smoke in Spruce Tree Classic

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Race season is in full swing and runners of the Nrorth fought the heat and the smoke in the Spruce Tree Classic Saturday.

Nearly 50 participants navigated through the approximately seven mile course that goes through the windy, rugged trails of the north UAF campus.

Dayan Mitchell, who finished second in last year's event, got his shot at redemption this year.

Mitchell was comfortably the first participant to complete the race at 47 minutes and 59 seconds.

In the women's division it was a neck and neck race that lead to a photo finish.

The top two competitors were going head to head during the final stretch, when incoming junior at West Valley, Naomi Bailey, turned on the jets and snuck across the finish line ahead of her opponent by just a nose.

Running Club North clocked Bailey at 50 minutes and 37 seconds with the second place finisher just a fraction of a second behind her.

"It was very hot and the first half I was going kind of easy," Bailey said. "And I don't know her name but that lady, the second half we just started trading places, she was so fast."

Next on the race schedule is the 34th annual Independence Day Run on July 4th.

The 5-Kilometer race begins at 10 a.m. at Pioneer Park