Runners rush to Beat Beethoven
Music stands decorated with musical scores serving as mile markers lined Tanana Loop Saturday morning as a mass of nearly one thousand people gathered in front of the Patty Center to participate in the 23rd Annual Beat Beethoven race. The race, sponsored by the Fairbanks Symphony, is a 5K coursing the perimeter of campus. Participants who crossed the finish line before the last note of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony ended, received a voucher for free admission to any of the upcoming Fairbanks Symphony concert performances.
Ten seconds before the start of the race, the announcer took his place at the conductor’s stand, waving his baton in time with the count down. Eager spectators waited patiently to cheer on their families, friends and neighbors at the local community event.
Levi Youngworth, whose wife leads the Couch to 5K organization, said that the Beat Beethoven race was the organization’s goal for the end of winter.
“Their goal is to make it all the way up to 30 minutes sustained without walking or taking breaks,” Youngsworth said when describing the organizations training targets for the race. “That’s perfect for what this is because you have to beat Beethoven, so it is a good goal. This is going to be their benchmark for early spring compared to how they will be doing in the summer.”
Lyon Kopsack was the first runner to cross the finish line coming in with a final time of 15 minutes and 52 seconds. Kopsack’s running mate, Dylan Nixon-Helms came in second place, with a finish time of 16 minutes and one second.
“I want to motivate other people to run,” Kopsack said. “I have this God-given gift and I just want to use it to the best of my ability. I think if I do that its going to motivate other people. Running is really a community thing so I think that is a really important aspect. Competition is just the cherry on top.”
Kopsack, a UAF cross country scholar athlete ran his first race when he was 2 years old.
“This is the kind of guy I want to be when I grow up,” said Nixon-Helms, who began running competitively in high school.
Nixon-Helms and Kopsack are both members of the UAF track team and have previously competed in the Beat Beethoven race. Nixon-Helms, who will be graduating this spring said that this will be his last time running the race.