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It's an ultra-strange world down at the Alaska Dome this week

  • Author: Doyle Woody
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published August 8, 2014

Maybe your nod to efficiency is showering while your morning coffee brews. Or standing in front of the television and catching up on baseball highlights while brushing your teeth before bed.

Well, good on you, but you are no Joe Fejes or Philip McCarthy.

Friday afternoon found Fejes running around the track inside the Alaska Dome – for the fifth straight day, mind you – and simultaneously brushing his teeth.

Meanwhile, McCarthy walked around the track while eating from a bowl.

They are among a few dozen men and women competing in the Six Days at the Dome, covering as many miles as they can in 144 hours. These folks are running, they are walking and they are increasingly limping, as you can witness via live-streaming – simply Google "Israel The Runner – Six Days in the Dome.

And they are blowing my mind.

These people, you can safely say, are out there – way, way out there – in a distant mental galaxy the rest of us cannot fathom.

They have all sorts of little tricks to make the grind a little less, well, grindy.

Fejes leads the overall competition – he covered 400 miles in the first 96 hours, or four days. He cuts out the top of the toe-box on his running shoes to reduce the likelihood of developing blisters and problems with his toenails.

David Johnston pastes small adhesive bandages over his nipples to prevent his shirt from rubbing his nipples raw Of course, Johnston was running without a shirt Friday afternoon, but, man, you can't expect him to be razor sharp mentally – as Johnston noted with a laugh, "I don't know who I am.''

And women's leader Liz Bauer, who ran 319 miles in the first four days and sat fifth overall in the six-day competition, applied some kind of cream or ointment to the inside of her right upper arm and the right side of her body. That presumably was designed to reduce chafing as her arm rubbed against her upper torso while she ran.

"No one has a catheter in?'' wondered a co-worker here at the typing factory. "They haven't taken it that far?

"That would be gross, but awesome.''

Oh, still, it's a scene down at the Dome

Six-dayer Bob Davidson made his way around the track while using a straw to sip from a juice box. McCarthy ditched his empty bowl and immediately grabbed a Coke for his next lap. And Andrew Snope glided around the track -- barefoot. Other days this week, Snope has been the race's cook, but Friday he started his quest to break the world record for distance covered (131 miles) in 24 hours while barefoot.

Against the wall bordering the track on the backstretch, tables are set up for individual runners. They pile food and other necessities there. They also set up camp on the infield of the track.

On the infield are sleeping bags, air mattresses and cots – runners take occasional naps, or just get off their feet for a rest. Shoes, shorts, socks are everywhere. Ditto for towels and creams and ointments. An Australian flag is draped atop a hurdle. Six jester's hats are positioned atop another hurdle – Ed Ettinghausen is a fixture on the ultramarathon scene and easy to spot because he competes wearing a jester's hat.

Near the start/finish line is a feeding station, where chow and liquids are available. Set up on tables are baked potatoes, banana and orange slices, grapes, tortillas and a couple of crockpots.

And there's also an assortment of sugary goodies that pack a ton of calories – cookies, brownies and all candy galore.

No wonder Joe Fejes is on the case about his oral hygiene.

This column is the opinion of reporter Doyle Woody. Reach him at and check out his blog at

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