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Patrick Landback Wins Gold Dust Dash 5k Race

Patrick Landback crosses the finish line of the Gold Dust Dash. Ben Townsend photo.

Waves crashed just feet away as a row of runners lined up on Nome’s East End Beach. Veronica Perez, a Summercise Intern for Norton Sound Health Corporation, announced to the 35 competitors of the Gold Dust Dash that it was time to get ready to race. 

“Ladies and gentleman, start your engines. On your marks, get set, go!” Perez exclaimed. 

The runners started off running through the sandy beach but quickly funneled into a single file line near the water, where the sand was more compact and easy to run on. 

A group of three runners, led by Patrick Landback, quickly separated from the rest of the competition. 

Landback, 39, is new to Nome. He recently moved here to take a job as a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. To take an early lead, Landback ran as close to the sea as possible, splashing up water with each step. 

“I ran on the firm sand where the waves were actually splashing through. That was the trick,” Landback recalled. “The sand here is so soft, I had to find that firm sand even if it meant getting my feet wet.”

Patrick Landback runs through water on the shoreline of Nome during the Gold Dust Dash. Ben Townsend photo.

The runners made their way down the beach to an orange cone that marked the halfway point of the 5k race. When heading back towards the finish line they faced 10 mph winds from the west. Landback led the pack for the 1.5 mile stretch to the finish line, cutting the wind by any means possible.

“I was leaning forwards, almost falling each step,” Landback said. 

Landback waited until the last possible moment to cut back into the sandy beach to cross the finish line, a checkered flag ribbon held up by two Summercise interns. He held his arms out wide as he ran through the ribbon, finishing with a time of 22:20. The second place finisher came in nearly one minute later with a time of 23:16. Third place finished with a time of 23:29. 

A steady stream of runners and walkers trickled in over the 20 minutes that followed. First place mens and womens finishers received a gold nugget, valued at approximately $30.

The gold nugget offered to mens and women's first place finishers of the Gold Dust Dash. Ben Townsend photo.

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