ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Meg Inokuma managed to outlast six-time champion Christy Marvin, and Mike Ophoff came from behind over a minute to win the men’s race by 40 seconds.
The 42-year-old from Palmer, Inokuma, wasn’t even the favorite — with the six-time champion Christy Marvin returning to the race after taking the year off. Inokuma said that she ran with Marvin for much of the race and was expecting Marvin to pass her on the flat, but she had built up too much of a lead.
Last year Inokuma said that the marathon changed her life, even though she didn’t win. It brought her a new appreciation for the friendships she has created in the running community.
“We are cheering for each other, helping each other. To me, maybe that is why my PR is more important than how I place,” Inokuma said. “We got stuck at the train. But at least we both got stuck, and the train wasn’t long. Thank goodness.”
Inokuma finished with a time of 3:15:29, which was good for eighth overall, including the men.
In the men’s division, history was made. For the first time since 1963, a current University of Alaska Fairbanks skier took home the top spot. Mike Ophoff, in just his second marathon ever, and his first marathon with such elevation gain — finished first with a time of 2:55:58, just 40 seconds faster than the second place finisher, Magnus Noroey.
The top three places in the men’s race were college skiers: Ophoff of UAF, Noroey of UAA, and Christopher Kalev of UAF.
“It’s awesome, I didn’t expect it at all because I have never ran it before. Yeah I am surprised, and It feels awesome,” said Ophoff.
Ophoff gave major credit to his spotter for providing gel and liquids to him throughout the race, saying that he was never thirsty or hungry. Ophoff also appreciated his support group.
“I never really ran a marathon with a huge hill in the middle, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was like going into this kind of blindfolded, like yeah run it and see what happens” said Ophoff.
Next year will be the 60th annual edition of the Equinox Marathon.
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