Some have said they wonder just what the Equinox Trail is like. If you can't ever run it, next best thing is some pictures! I took advantage of the string of gorgeous weather we've had recently on my Saturday "hilly" run of the out-and-back to take some pictures. This part starts at about mile 12.5, goes up and around the Ester Dome radar facility (I think that's what it is...), and down the southwest side of the dome a bit, then turns around and returns before diving down "The Chute" just after mile 17. It makes a nice not-too-long hill run in preparation for the full meal deal!
First of all, here's the profile of the course. OMG, yes that's it! The "out-and-back" is the section in the middle more or less between the two peaks.
Here's the part where you really feel on top of the world, before you start down the other side. This is looking back the way you came, the road you see is the dusty dirt road we just came up, the city of Fairbanks is in the distance. Elevation is about 2400 ft. The start of this section is in the middle of the pic, where the road sort of disappears over the hill. Mile 17 is just before that, then you turn sharp right to go down the Chute.
Then you go down hill, pretty steep. There's a section where it's kinda long, but a lot of fun to go down...
But coming back up kinda sucks...
Here's the mile 14 signpost. They're "permanent" signs, sort of road sign style. Complete with bullet holes in many of them. There are two on this one (look familiar, Burger Bill?):
Here's more shots from the trail. As you can see, it's just beautiful vast country, but I'm always thinking the pictures just don't do it justice. Here's one of the last big hills before the turnaround:
The Turnaround (approx mile 14.6):
The uphill right after the turnaround... (going down to the turnaround spot can be treacherous, but the leaders just bomb down it and really do RUN back up...
(Had to do this in sections... said I could only post 8 images at a time...)
And then you go back the way you came, and just past mile 17 you turn a sharp right and go down The Chute:
An almost straight down tumble down a rocky pitch for about 400 ft, then you turn left and head down a beautiful deciduous forest trail. The middle relay leg starts at about 8.5 and goes to mile 17 just before the Chute. Our friend Nordic is doing that leg for his team; it's truly the toughest leg and only the strongest sign up for this.
Yes, September 15 should be fun, let's hope for a little rain before hand, and clear skies for the race! (hey, we need some rain to hold the dust down!) Hope you enjoyed the Equinox Tour!
No street lights? How do you know which path to take? Where do the crowds stand that line the route? More importantly.....where do you go when a bear is in the parth ahead?
Nice pictures.........beautiful terrain.
Thanks for sharing Erika.
Thanks for the pictures!!!! That looks like my kind of route.
Never regret anything that made you smile, SteveP
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Very cool Erika! Thanks for posting these. Doesn't look like a PR course to me! Good luck and have fun on the 15th. We'll be thinking of you bombing down the chute!
Very nice pics! Spectacular country. Some pretty rough trails for racing though. I'd have to wear glasses for sure. Good luck with the race.
Thanks for sharing - what gorgeous terrain! I'm envious ;-).
Is that about a 1700 ft elevation gain in three miles? That's got to hurt!
Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing. (Reminds me of northern NH.)
Holy Cow! Do you run this marathon in trail shoes?
Will there be lots of aid stations?
Yeow! Look at that course profile! eeeeeeeek!
-- The Econo Formerly Known as Rufftuff
Beautiful country - thanks for posting this! But scary, too. Be careful, chick-let, especially when you get tired and stop picking up your feet so well. You could take a serious tumble. Maybe you should wear elbow and knee pads...and a helmet... !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!
That is spectacular scenery, evan. I'd like to see it first hand, maybe even hike it, but I'm not sure I'm tough enough to try and run it. Thanks for posting.
Thank you for these. It is so hard for the camera to capture severe uphills and downhills because we point the camera in the direction of the incline, but even allowing for that, these are some tough hills. Good for you to tackle this one. Spareribs
This will be my third Equinox, and I've trained on every part of the trail several times (although not so much this year). I wear my regular Asics Nimbus 9's, but many people wear trail shoes. The most dangerous part is going down The Chute and several people fall every year (so far, I haven't!). What I didn't show you is the start, which goes right up a ski hill the first few feet, then the next 8 miles are through nice wooded ski trails and bike paths. Miles 18 to the end are along roads and mostly downhill, except for the mean ol' uphill right at mile 25. Oh, and I do freely admit to walking up many of the hills!