Anna Dalton is the new Equinox Marathon women’s record holder.
On a postcard-perfect fall Saturday in Fairbanks, the Anchorage runner was one of four women to run faster than the previous women’s record in one of Alaska’s oldest and most storied footraces.
Dalton’s time of 3:07:22 knocked nearly eight minutes Christy Marvin’s mark of 3:15:06, set in 2018.
In the 58-year history of the race, only three women had ever run under 3:20 on the grueling course that includes over 3,500 feet of vertical gain over mostly on cross-country trails. Until today. Now there are eight.
It was Dalton’s debut in the iconic marathon, and after dealing with multiple injuries over recent years she was feeling healthy coming into the race.
“I’m still sorta blown away,” Dalton shared via text a couple hours after her victory.
Dalton, Megan Youngren of Soldotna (3:11:57), Susanna Rivard of Portland, Ore (3:13:37), and Meg Inokuma of Anchorage (3:13:45) all broke Marvin’s standard. Klaire Rhodes of Anchorage was the 5th woman finisher and in doing so became only the 8th women to ever go under the 3:20 mark (3:16:26).
“It was an absolutely incredible day up here in Fairbanks. The trails were all dry and leaves on full display,” said Dalton. “I ran a conservative race and didn’t take the lead until the chute (around mile 18) and was alone from there.”
In the men’s’ race Anchorage runner Lars Arneson clocked a time of 2:52:23 in his debut effort, to gap runner-up Tobias Albrigtson (3:01:37) of Boulder by a comfortable margin. The top-5 was rounded out by two-time champion Allan Spangler of Anchorage (3:03:44), Max Donaldson (3:07:38) of Fairbanks, and six-time champion Matias Saari of Anchorage (3:16:21).
The women’s race lived up to up to and exceeded expectations for a showdown. With Dalton, Youngren, and Rivard all having competed at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, there was anticipation a record might fall.
Youngren had noted how stacked the field was before the race and correctly predicted one of them would break the record.
The women’s field was so strong that five placed in top-11 overall with Dalton (4th overall), Youngren (6th), Rivard (7th), Inokuma (8th), and Rhodes (11th) going toe-to-toe with the men.
Six-time champion Marvin had also hoped to race and would have made the the historic women’s field even deeper, but had to withdraw due to nagging injuries.
“I’m honored to have raced such a high caliber field today,” said Dalton. “I just wish Christy (Marvin) could have been here too. I think she also would have blown her record out of the water.”
– By Alaska Sports Blog contributor Harlow Robinson