Usibelli Running Series

Running Club North and Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. sponsor a summer running competition known as the Usibelli Running Series with adult and youth divisions. The Usibelli Running Series adult division consists of eight events and the youth division consists of five events: the shortest of the eight events.

The Concept

There is no cost to participate in the series, although most of the individual events have a registration fee. In the adult division, any runner who completes 1 or more of these 8 events will automatically be entered in the competition. Finishers of the Equinox Ultramarathon who have finished all of the other Usibelli Running Series races will also earn the commemorative t-shirt. However, they will not earn competition points for the overall and age class categories.┬áRunners in the youth division must participate in at least 2 of the 5 races to qualify for the series. Points are awarded for each event, to both male and female runners in each age class (15 classes in the adult division and 3 classes in the youth division) and in an overall category. Series point totals are calculated based on a runner’s finish position in their age class and overall for each event entered.

Runners are classified by their ages on May 1 and will remain in that age class for the duration of the series. It’s important to note that if a runner has a birthday during the course of the series, then for any given event, they could compete in one age class for the event standings (determined by their age on race day) and a different age class for the Usibelli Running Series (determined by their age on May 1). Points are determined and age classes are established as shown in the tables to the right. Points are awarded to the top 50 finishers in the overall categories (male and female) for each event, and to the top 20 finishers in each of the age classes.

Prizes are awarded to the top three series participants in each age class and to the top five participants in the overall categories. In addition, runners who complete all eight events earn a commemorative shirt. Awards and shirts will be presented at the Usibelli Awards Potluck, usually held on the third Saturday in October. Check the event calendar for the exact date, time, and location.

The Series

Our Usibelli Running Series season starts in May with a fast spring 5K, the Chena River Run, and concludes in late September with our Equinox Marathon. This latter race, now more than 50 years old, is proudly billed as one of America’s toughest marathons because of it’s approximately 4,000 feet of elevation gain (and loss). The marathon is held on the weekend in September closest to the autumnal equinox.

The other races in our series include Fairbanks’ largest race, the Midnight Sun Run 10K, run at 10:00 PM on the Saturday night in June closest to our longest day, the summer solstice; the Santa Claus Half-Marathon in North Pole; the Gold Discovery Run that falls at the end of Fairbanks’ annual Golden Day’s celebration in late July, starting from near Cleary Summit and finishing at the Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox; the Run of the Valkyries 8K held in August; and the Golden Heart Trail Run held on the Birch Hill ski trails and featuring obstacles like logs and hay bales. The shortest race in the series is the Jim Loftus Mile, commemorating a pillar of the Fairbanks running community. This event is held on a high school track.

History

Over the years, runners in Interior Alaska have competed in a series of summer running events. In its earliest days, the series was known as the Mayor’s Cup, under the sponsorship of the Fairbanks North Star Borough with the Borough Mayor presenting the awards at the end of the season. The series originally consisted of five events. From 1986 through 2003, Williams Petroleum, and its predecessor MAPCO Alaska Petroleum, Inc., sponsored the series. During those years, the series expanded from five to seven events, with the addition of the Mile Run and the Santa Claus Half-Marathon. These seven races challenged runners over a wide variety of distances in events held from May through September. With the sale of the North Pole refinery completed in April, 2004 to Flint Hills Resources, the summer running series continued under the sponsorship of the new owners until 2014. In need of a new sponsor, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. graciously stepped forward in 2015 to take over sponsorship of the series.

Series Events

(Y) indicates events in both the adult and youth divisions
1. Chena River Run - 5K (Y)
2. Midnight Sun Run - 10K (Y)
3. Jim Loftus Mile - 1 mi (Y)
4. Gold Discovery Run - 16.5mi
5. Run of the Valkyries - 8K (Y)
6. Santa Claus Half Marathon - 13.1mi
7. Golden Heart Trail Run - 5K (Y)
8. Equinox Marathon - 26.2mi

Age Classes

(Y) indicates the youth division
10-11 (Y)
12-14 (Y)
15-17 (Y)
18-29
30-34
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65-69
70-74
75-79
80-84
85-89
90-94
95-100

Overall Points

PlacePointsPlacePoints
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
100
85
75
65
60
55
51
47
44
41
40
39
38
37
36
35
34
33
32
31
30
29
28
27
26
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
25
24
23
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Age Class Points

PlacePointsPlacePoints
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
30
25
21
18
16
15
14
13
12
11
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1