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Candace Cahill’s alarm went off later than she would have liked it to last Saturday morning.
She prefers running earlier in the day, but this morning had a set schedule to follow, which meant turning her alarm forward a few hours. She forced herself to stay up late the night before in order to sleep in and be rested for the journey ahead.
She got up out of bed, drank enough water to be properly hydrated for the 13.1 miles awaiting her and stretched out a bit. She fed her dogs, and then headed out the door to the starting line of the Duff’s Skagway Half Marathon down on the Broadway Dock.
For the past few years, it’s been a similar story for Cahill on one June Saturday. She’s participated in every marathon since it began six years ago, only missing last year’s race.
“Since I live here, I pretty much have to do it,” she said. “If I’m here, I can’t not do it because we don’t have that many races around town, and I feel like I need to take advantage of the fact that we’ve got this organized event because I like doing organized events.”
Cahill says the structure of an upcoming marathon encourages her to stick to a training regimen in preparation of the race.
“If I don’t have a race, I’ll just screw around, you know, like ‘today, I’ll just go up to Lower Lake instead of a five-mile run’,” she said. “I’ll be lackadaisical about it.”
Cahill hasn’t always been a runner, but she said that since picking up the sport it’s become an integral part of her day.
“I actually didn’t start running until my forties,” she said. “I like it really as a moving meditation. It helps me to focus at the beginning of my day, and I really like that.”
The scenery of the marathon is one of the reasons why Cahill keeps coming back to participate each year.
“Running in Skagway and Dyea is so beautiful,” she said. “There’s never a day that it’s not just a beautiful place to run. I don’t care if it’s raining, or sunny, or windy or not, it’s just really beautiful.”
Running on the Dyea Road is one of her favorite parts.
“I love the gravel, I love the twists and turns, and around every corner there is a new vista,” Cahill said, “and no matter how [many] times I run it I never get tired of it.”
After five years of participating in the marathon, Cahill has quite a collection of medals from the two marathons and now three half-marathons she’s competed in. But those aren’t her favorite prizes for participating in the race.
She said the real prize to covet is the marathon t-shirts.
“You have to have the tech t-shirts to run in. They’re more comfortable, they wick away moisture better,” she said. “Well, if you’re in races on a regular basis, then you get a new t-shirt and you don’t have to go out and buy a new one.”
So this year, when she got dressed the morning of the marathon, she looked at her collection of marathon t-shirts and chose the one she thought suited her the best – the shirt she received from competing in the first Duff’s Skagway Marathon.
This year, Cahill’s husband, Tom Lux, collected his first Duff’s Skagway Marathon t-shirt by competing in the half-marathon alongside his wife for the first time.
“He’s been training with me, and it’s been really cool to share that as a couple,” she said.
Cahill finished in 2:19:45. Her husband ran across the finish line at 2:18:27.
More runners than ever before joined Cahill and Lux in participating in this year’s Duff’s Skagway Marathon, Half Marathon and Walking Half Marathon.
They journeyed near and far, from Skagway and around the corner in Whitehorse to as distant as Hawaii and Amsterdam. Thirty participants out of the overall 113 were local athletes.
Skagwegian Jeffrey Wegener took first place in the full marathon, finishing in 3:19:47. Joy Isbell from Fort Jones, Calif., finished first in the women’s full marathon in 3:52:24.
David Eikelboom of Whitehorse,YT finished first in the men’s half-marathon in just over an hour, with a time of 1:14:15 seconds. Maura Sullivan of Whitehorse, YT was the first woman to finish the half marathon with a time of 1:36:12.
Local residents placed first in both categories of the walking half-marathon: Michelle Greenstreet at a time of 2:54:22, and Andy Miller at 3:00:24.