Virtually everyone in Fairbanks knows how integral the Equinox Marathon is to the community there. Now the Equinox has received statewide recognition after being inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 26 at the Anchorage Museum. The Equinox, which celebrated its 50th running in 2012, was the lone 2013 event inducted at the well-attended ceremony.
Former race director Steve Bainbridge, wearing the 1998 Equinox race shirt, accepted the award and gave a brief speech. Current directors John Estle and Susan Kramer joined Bainbridge on stage. Also in attendance were Jim Mahaffey, the UAF ski coach and Equinox race director from 1963-66; Gail Bakken Johnson, the 1963 women’s champion and designer of the Equinox patch; Tim Middleton, who helped create the original trail; former Running Club North president Keith Pollock; and past champions Helen Desinger, Matias Saari and Eric Strabel.
A two-minute video produced by KTUU television about the Equinox was also shown. It included recent and archival race footage and photos, plus interviews with Bainbridge and Saari.
The Equinox plaque is displayed at the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame gallery at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. It features the Equinox patch and a black-and-white photo of runners — including Craig Gardner, Bob Baker and Jim Bouchard — charging up Beluga Hill at the start of the 1979 race.
Other Fairbanks-connected Hall of Famers include Susan Butcher, Lance Mackey and Buck Nystrom (who was inducted Tuesday) as individuals; the Midnight Sun Baseball Classic as an event; and UAF’s Top of the World Classic basketball win in 2002 as a moment.