Susitna 100

Chase Sutton, Reporter

Have you ever thought of running a 100-mile race in the middle of Alaska in the middle winter? Do you think you have what it takes to complete it? If so, the Susitna 100 race for you. The Susitna 100 is a challenging race between athletes that bike, jog and ski. Sven Berglund, a teacher here at West Anchorage High School, participated in this year’s race stated “This race is the hardest thing I have ever done and that it kind of pushes your boundaries to see how far you can go.” Second place winner of the foot division Rachael Gano stated that it was also one of the hardest things that she has ever done.

This year’s Susitna 100 race was the 12th annual event that is always held in mid February. On the 12th the day started early for the racers. By 10:00 the race was underway in the cloudy cold mid-20 degree weather.

This year’s race conditions were the worst conditions so far in the eyes of Sven Berglund, who completed his fifth Susitna 100 on a bike by placing 26th. When asked what he would rate the weather on a scale of one to 10 (one being the best and 10 being the worst) said, “I would give it a nine, it was rough, to warm.” Rachael Gano however countered that by stating that “I would give the weather a three, it was nice.” There was obvious difference in perspective as to the quality of the weather.

The race was difficult, even for seasoned racers like Berglund, he is a seasoned racer and knows the Susitna 100 course. He stated, “I have placed tenth a couple of different times. This year though was my fifth finish.” Rachael Gano however, this was her first time participating in the Susitna 100. She stated, “this year is my first experience running races that are longer than a marathon.

When asked if she followed a particular strategy, Gano replied, “I had a couple of strategies but my number one strategy was to make comfort a priority. Whether it required changing what I was wearing, eating or taking a drink.” Gano also stated that she made sure she kept to her own pace and not get carried away in keeping up with someone else.