Jake Moe wins Moose's Tooth Marathon

Doyle Woody

Lying flat on his back on a padded table inside the medical tent stationed on Sixth Avenue, drained from winning the Moose's Tooth Marathon on Sunday morning, Jake Moe held a one-gallon Ziploc bag to his face and made occasional deposits.

In between heaves -- some dry, some not -- he somehow kept grinning.

Standing table-side, his friend and former coach, Jason Hofaker, the head coach for running at Anchorage Christian School, asked how his assistant coach was doing.

"Feeling better?'' Hofaker inquired.

"I think so -- throwing up helps,'' Moe replied.

"It always does,'' Hofaker said.

Both men chuckled.

As Moe said moments earlier, "Runners are crazy.''

Moe, a 28-year-old from Anchorage who works as an electrical engineer for Municipal Light & Power, proved that in the signature event of the Big Wild Life Runs, which also featured a marathon relay, half-marathon, five-kilometer race and kids' race.

On a cool, overcast, and largely dry morning perfect for racing, the event drew about 3,600 registered runners in the last super-sized Anchorage race of the summer.

After flying in Saturday night from his friends' wedding in Oregon, getting to bed at 2 a.m. Sunday and waking at 6 a.m. to prepare to race, Moe said he started the marathon slowly to see what the day would bring.

"There's three things that happen when you go out too fast, and they're all bad,'' Moe cautioned.

And the three things are?

"It doesn't matter,'' Moe said with a laugh. "They're all bad.''

After clocking some early miles in the range of 6 minutes and 25-30 seconds, Moe said he slowly picked up his pace along the course that started and finished downtown, and ran primarily along the Coastal and Chester Bicycle Trails.

He passed eventual runner-up Benjamin Gherardi of Scottsdale, Ariz., around the 17-mile mark -- incidentally, that's where Erik Johnson of Seward in 2010 passed eventual runner-up Moe on his way to victory in this race -- and clocked 2:45:11 to win for the first time in his five marathons.

Moe's travel-and-race schedule was tight, he said, because he registered for the marathon on March 30 and received a call from his friends the next day informing him their wedding date was set for Saturday.

Moe said he never hesitated in making plans to travel to the wedding. After all, his friends traveled to his wedding. And, remember, runners are crazy.

Speaking of which, Moe late in his race passed his wife, Brynn, who ran the half-marathon (3:21:54) while 23 weeks pregnant. The couple's first child, a girl, is due mid-December.

By the time Moe reached the finish on Sixth Avenue, he crossed on wobbly legs. Still, he had enough energy to raise his arms and, with help, make his way to the aid tent.

"The last 10 minutes, I was blacking out, so hoping (Gherardi, runner-up in 2:48:20) didn't come up so I'd have to do some speed-demon kick,'' Moe said.

No such close call came, much to Moe's relief.

"I don't want to run any more for awhile,'' he said.

Talva Parker of Lees Summit, Mo., won the women's marathon, clocking 3:14:42 to beat Christina Knapp of Anchorage by about five minutes.

Steve Chu of Eielson Air Force Base won the Skinny Raven Half-Marathon in 1:10:32 to top Stephen Slaby of Tucson, Ariz., who finished in 1:12:23.

Gina Slaby, Stephen's wife and a finisher in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, blitzed the field in the women's half-marathon in 1:19:06, which was also good for fourth overall.

Max Romey of Anchorage won the Snow City Café 5-K in 18:08. Kaitlyn Mondl of Anchorage earned the women's win in 20:06.

Big Wild Life Runs

Moose's Tooth Marathon

Men's Top 5 - 1) Jake Moe, Anchorage, 2:45:11; 2) Benjamin Gherardi, Scottsdale, Ariz., 2:48:20; 3) John Lafayette, Seattle, 2:51:47; 4) Gregory Encelewski, Anchorage, 2:55:35; 5) Tim Mosbacher, Missoula, Mont., 2:57:34.

Women's Top 5 - 1) Talva Parker, Lees Summit, Mo., 3:14:42; 2) Christina Knapp, Anchorage, 3:19:56; 3) Debbie Cropper, Anchorage, 3:27:18; 4) Katie Heath, Eagle River, 3:29:53; 5) Monica Young, Anchorage, 3:30:07.

Bear Tooth Marathon Relay

1) Whitfield Bros For the Win! (male), 3:05:51; 2) Bearded Seal S&SC (mixed), 3:12:14; 3) Team Skinny Raven (corporate), 3:18:09; 4) Firebird Relay (military), 3:20:12; 5) The Nerd Herd (mixed), 3:24:45.

Skinny Raven Half-Marathon

Men's Top 5 - 1) Steve Chu, Eielson AFB, 1:10:32; 2) Stephen Slaby, Tucson, Ariz., 1:12:23; 3) Tom Ritchie, Anchorage, 1:13:02; 4) Troy Larson, Anchorage, 1:21:33; 5) Brian Kirchner, Anchorage 1:21:48.

Women's Top 5 - 1) Gina Slaby, Tucson, Ariz., 1:19:06; 2) Caitlin Oviatt, Anchorage, 1:25:47; 3) Kirsten Kolb, Anchorage, 1:26:32; 4) Emma Bohman, Anchorage, 1:27:27; 5) Hallidie Wilt, Anchorage, 1:27:53.

Snow City Cafe 5-K

Top 5 Men - 1) Maxwell Romey, Anchorage, 18:08; 2) Jeff Young, Anchorage, 18:50; 3) Gillian Szweda-Mittelstadt, Indian, 19:06; 4) Brad Benter, Anchorage, 19:26; 5) Adam Jacobson, Mercer Island, Wash., 19:33.

Top 5 Women - 1) Kaitlyn Mondl, Anchorage, 20:06; 2) Laura Carpenter, Anchorage, 21:06; 3) Mary O'Reilly, Eagle River, 21:31; 4) Melissa Miller, Chino Hills, Calif., 22:00; 5) Justine Reese, Kenai, 22:56.

Anchorage Daily News