Ironically, the very first Midnight Sun Run had very little to do with the midnight sun, as it started at 9:05 a.m. the morning of June 25th, 1983. Close to 350 runners participated in the inaugural race, which, like today, started at the UAF Patty Center. The course was slightly different than the one used today, and the finish line was in downtown Fairbanks at the corner of 11th and Turner. The race was sponsored by Dairy Queen and KAYY radio.“Runners from all over Alaska as well as California and Canada entered the event,” said the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in its coverage of the event. “The race had some fairly fast times considering that the temperatures were in the high 70s at the start. To avoid overheating, many runners were hosed down by residents along the race course.
Kent Karns was the first runner to cross the finish line, with a time of 32:28. Tricia Livingston was the first woman finisher, with a time of 40:29. Karns was followed by Audun Endestad with a time of 32:43 and Rick Solie with a time of 33:58. Lathrop running sensation Ricky Wilhelm was fourth with a time of 34:20 and Andrew White rounded out the top five with a time of 34:37. Another Lathrop runner-and a young one at that—was Mike Kramer, who finished in 9th place with a time of 35:37. Kramer would go on to win the MSR almost 20 years later in 2000.
On the woman’s side, Livingston was closely followed by Pat Kling with a time of 40:59, Marion Johnson with a time of 41:32, Bobbi Fyten with a time of 41:42, and Beth Nava with a time of 43:34.