A closer look at the 2018 Mayor’s Marathon

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The Mayor’s Marathon is a UAA-hosted event that has been occurring for 20 years. Photo credit: Sam Wasson/UAA Athletics

Lauren Cuddihy is a member of the UAA track and field team.

The Mayor’s Marathon is not only the traditional summer solstice running event of Anchorage, but it also involves UAA staff and students.

The entire Mayor’s Marathon is a UAA-hosted event that has been occurring since 1998. University faculty are not only one of the main components of the event organization, but UAA’s own head cross country/track and field coach, Michael Friess, is the current race director.

Friess tried to encourage other athletic staff, athletes and students to participate in as many ways as possible.

UAA student Yvonne Jeschke, a physical education major, took the opportunity to participate in an active way by being a medical biker.

The medical bikers were a part of the mobile first-aid team that provided medical support between miles 14-25 in the marathon and miles 2 and 12 in the half-marathon.

The 2018 Mayor’s Marathon was the second time Jeschke has been a medical biker. She chose to help out as a medical biker instead of actually participating in the event because she has never run either a half marathon or a full marathon before. Instead, Jeschke focused on her responsibilities.

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“My main job is to make sure that all participants are safe and in good health during the race,” Jeschke said. “I have a backpack on that has all kinds of first-aid devices, bear and bug spray, energy bars and electrolytes. I am biking back and forth my route so that I can provide assistance for everyone.”

She said that she has never had a serious injury or emergency on her shifts, only a lot of people requesting bug spray.

Former UAA student and The Northern Light reporter Karolin Anders and graduate student Nick Tabaczka were grateful that medical aid was available during the course. Both Anders and Tabaczka were running the half marathon.

However, both had very little experience with half-marathons.

“I have never raced a marathon or half marathon before. To be completely honest, I think I have never run more than a 10k,” Anders said, “I chose to sign up for the half marathon because I needed a goal to work towards.”

Anders was using the event as motivation to start running again after graduating from the UAA track and field team over a year ago.

Tabaczka tried to use the event for the same purpose. Initially, he had planned to run the full marathon.

“My friend convinced me to do the full back in January, even though I had only done a half before, but he bailed on me two weeks ago [so I switched to the half],” Tabaczka said.

With the full marathon in mind, Tabaczka thought that his former training would be sufficient to help him run the race.

“Last year, I was running three times a week, biking two to three times a week, swimming once a week and doing home fitness DVD’s once a day,” Tabaczka said. “This year, I’m only running once or twice a week. So, I am not prepared [for a full marathon].”

After retiring from collegiate sports, Anders felt that it was difficult to stay consistent with running and staying in shape, so having a race date made it easier to get out and run.

“I haven’t prepared a whole lot, but I just really wanted to run at [the] Mayor’s [Marathon] this year, so it will need to be enough. If not, there is always the option to take a little walking break,” Anders said.

With more preparation, Anders hopes to work her way up to the full Mayor’s Marathon.

UAA runner Edwin Kangogo is using the half-marathon as a bridge to an eventual full marathon.

“Eventually, my goal is to participate in marathons and [the half marathon] was really a nice opportunity for me to start at a lower level. I had done a couple of them and they’re always fun and enjoyable,” Kangogo said.

Kangogo said that he loved participating in the event because it allowed him to get involved in the community. Being a collegiate runner, Kangogo felt that he could participate by representing UAA and the other athletes.

The Mayor’s Marathon took place on June 23. For final results, visit www.goseawolves.com.