By Reba Lean
Channel 2 News
10:55 PM AKDT, September 17, 2012
He hoped he could do it in 7 hours. Eight hours would have been fine as well. Heck, Larry Hodges just wanted to finish the Equinox Marathon, period.
It was the 50th anniversary of the Fairbanks marathon, but for Hodges, the goal wasn’t about making history.
“I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anyone, really, just myself,” he said.
In April 2011, Hodges and a friend were walking along the main thoroughfare at Arctic Man back to their campsite.
It was dark, and a snowmachine cruising the path surprised the pair. Hodges didn’t have time to react and get out of the way. The snowmachine crashed into him, sending two riders flying. Without checking on Hodges, the two got back on their machine and drove away.
Hodges’ legs were broken below the knees. His friend ran to get help, and Hodges was transported back to Fairbanks. Two titanium rods were placed inside his legs.
Hodges worried about his recovery. His job as a Fort Wainwright firefighter had significant physical requirements that he wouldn’t be able to do for an unknown amount of time.
Hodges was determined, though, and he began completing physical therapy goals faster than anticipated.
Last fall, he completed one goal of biking a 30-mile ride. He was averaging walking about 15-minute miles.
Since then, he has only improved.
This summer he completed some more hefty goals, including biking 1,300 miles and training for the marathon.
He told his running partner, Amanda Byrd, that he would try to keep up with her for the first 10 miles or so. She hoped to complete the race in 5 or 6 hours, but Hodges didn’t want to overdo anything. He figured he’d walk if he started to feel any pain.
“But I ended up running all the way through mile 18 before I had any pain where my muscles started twitching like they were going to cramp up on me or something,” he said.
The Equinox course includes an elevation and descent of more than 2,000 feet in its 26 miles.
Hodges crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 50 minutes on Saturday afternoon.
“For me it was kind of the last chapter of my recovery or the goal that I had set for myself,” he said. “I wanted to get back to somewhat where I was before the accident.”
Hodges credits friends, family and community members for helping him recover. He said supporting thoughts and words always seemed to come at the right moment and after the marathon, he realized support is what got him so far.
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