40th Midnight Sun Run still on despite recent smoke

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 7:56 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Midnight Sun Run has not hosted an in-person race since 2019, and the first since it’s virtual accommodation is set to take place this Saturday. Not only will this be the return to an in-person race, but it will also be the 40th anniversary. The Midnight Sun Run attracts runners from all over the country (and even world) each year. However, the smoke and air quality in Fairbanks has been poor recently, but race director, Wendy Cloyd is very optimistic the event will still happen.

“We have an emergency preparedness plan that does account for wildfires and smoke,” said Cloyd. “The determination on whether or not the race will proceed will happen Saturday morning.”

The wildfires across Alaska has caused multiple cities, including Fairbanks, to see and feel the affects of smoke and haze. Most of Fairbanks could notice the first inklings of haze on Sunday, but in recent days the air quality seems to be improving.

“Thankfully this event happens at 10:00 p.m. at night,” mentioned Cloyd. “That gives us a day to figure things out, look at the conditions, make phone calls to see what the air quality level is, talk to the board of directors, and determine whether we will proceed or not.”

If the smoke is still lingering, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Midnight Sun Run has taken place with its presence, and has never been cancelled because of it (smoke) in the races forty year history. Cloyd, reinforced her optimism that the race will proceed as anticipated this weekend.

“Let’s hope that after having two years of pandemic, this one won’t be cancelled because of smoke because it would be highly disappointing to the community.”

Although many travel to Fairbanks from various parts of the country, the Midnight Sun Run most likely isn’t the only reason people come to Fairbanks. For example, Neil and Eileen Crone will be coming to Fairbanks from Lititz, Pennsylvania to participate in this race, but will also be visiting their son in Palmer and go on a four-day canoe tour on the Yukon River.

The Midnight Sun Run will have two special representatives from the Roadrunner Clubs of America (Western Region Director and Board President) travel to Fairbanks for the race. The Midnight Sun Run is a Western Region Championship Race this year.

Cloyd doubled-down on her positive outlook for Saturday smiling as she stated, “I’m hopeful we will not have to cancel because they’re coming here specifically to be a part of the Midnight Sun Run.”

Bib pickup starts tomorrow and runs through Friday at Team Cutters (2950 Airport Way) from 10:00 am to 6:00 p.m. to get their annual shirt and race bib, and the 40th Midnight Sun Run will take place from the Patty Center on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks at 10:00 p.m. Saturday, June 18.

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