Looking back

This Saturday is the 39th running of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. 

Two runners from Kodiak will be part of the festivities — senior Chandra Christiansen and junior Maddie Christiansen. This will be the first time a Kodiak runner competed at the prestigous Foot Locker race since Levi Thomet in 2014. 

Years before Thomet, Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar made history by becoming the fourth Alaskan to advance to the Foot Locker National with his third-place finish at the 2008 West Regional. He joined West Anchorage’s Ann Locke (1980), Ketchikan’s Gretchen Klein (1991) and West’s Miguel Gomez (1992) as the only Alaskans to qualify for nationals. Thomet later added his name to the list in 2013 and 2014.  

A month after cruising to his third Alaska state title, Dunbar finished the 5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 43 seconds, behind only Christopher Schwartz of Bakersfield, California (15:38) and Brian Schrader of Flagstaff, Arizona (15:42).  

Dunbar led the majority of the race before losing the lead going down the final hill. He would get the best of those two runners a week later at the national finals in San Diego, where he would place second with a time of 15:22, only seven ticks back of champion Solomon Haile of Silver Spring, Maryland.  

Dunbar’s place was, and still is, the highest finish by an Alaskan runner at the national finals. 

“To actually have success at the race was something that meant a lot to me,” Dunbar told the Daily Mirror in 2008. “I was representing the whole community.”  

Dunbar returned home to a gathering of 20 fans waited for his arrival at the airport with banners. 

“I don’t know if I can put a world to describe it,” he said. “There are new levels that I reached and I think my time has finally arrived now. This is something that I have been working for, for a long time. My name is really out there now.” 

The two weeks spent racing in California was just the beginning of Dunbar’s career. He went on to become an All-American at the University of Oregon and is the only Alaska runner to break the historic 4-minute mile barrier.   

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