Trail Running: Ankles Away

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Outside magazine, September 1994

Trail Running: Ankles Away
By Todd Balf (with Martin Dugard and John Alderman)

Prior to last June, nobody from outside Interior Alaska had won the Annihilator 10k, in the town of Nenana. And with good reason: It’s remote, steep, bug-plagued, and proudly recognized as one of the three toughest races in the state. But as the Annihilator wound down, newcomer Bret Van Poppel was right beside former champion and Fairbanks local Alan Doyle, having stayed with
him on the railroad tracks, up the mountain to the former missile site above town, and through the rooted, twisty single track in the birch forest. Then, crossing the highway for the final time, Doyle, 36, made his move. He bounded over the guard-rail, skirted the otherwise helpful stairs, and grabbed air off the embankment. Landing in semisoft shale and with both ankles
apparently intact, he sprinted the final yards, finishing in 45:27. A rather shocked Van Poppel finished ten seconds later. And while the local bragging rights were dramatically preserved, it didn’t last long. Anita Asevedo, of Anchorage by way of Georgia, knocked off a raft of former winners as she finished in 54:52. Asked how she accounted for a five-minute improvement from her
first Annihilator last year, Asevedo, 30, didn’t hesitate: “I got a new boyfriend.”

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