Inside the Gates: Air Force member takes 3rd in foot division of 2022 Iditarod Trail Invitational

Inside the Gates: Air Force member takes 3rd in foot division of 2022 Iditarod Trail Invitational
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 4:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For 24 days and 21 hours, Maj. Joshua Brown with the U.S. Air Force ran through the Alaskan terrain.

“For me, life is like always about the next adventure and experiencing our world,” said Brown, who came to Alaska about four years ago.

In March, Brown finished in third place in the foot division for the 2022 Iditarod Trail Invitational. The invitational is a 1,000-mile human-powered race that follows the Iditarod trail by foot, bike or skis.

Brown started participating in ultramarathons in 2013. Although the invitational is not his first Alaska ultramarathon, he said this one was different.

“In like a 100-mile race, it’s, you know, 24 to 30 hours. In this race, you have to think about the long game and then depleting resources,” Brown said. “And so you have to think about sleep deprivation. You have to think about weight loss and then survival.”

For nearly a month, Brown ran through howling winds, snow-covered grounds, and rocky terrains. All while dragging behind him a 65-to 85-pound sled.

During his journey, Brown got to see the Northern Lights, Iditarod teams passing by him, the Yukon River, and the Alaska Range.

However, this journey slowed down as Brown approached his second checkpoint on the Yukon River, in Galena, and got sick.

“Once I got sick, that sort of changed my priorities in the race,” Brown said.

Brown had to slow down his pace, causing him to lose his first place position in the race as his mindset transitioned from speed to taking care of his health.

“Instead of doing, you know, three to four hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, I would try to get five hours or six hours of sleep,” Brown said.

After nearly turning around to fly back home, Brown found the strength to keep ongoing.

“I just wanted to see what the next day held,” he said.

His dreams and ambition pushed him every day one step closer to Nome.

“In this situation it felt like the blessings that continued to come after that struggle,” Brown said. “So that what was really what pushed me forward at that point.”

Something he hopes others will take away from his journeys is that the comeback is always stronger than the setback.

“If you give up, right, like then you don’t have the opportunity to see what the next day holds or who you’re going to meet,” Brown said.

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