Crystal blue skies, calm winds and perfect temperatures accompanied 150 some runners who turned out for an historic 25th Anniversary Run for Women. Historic for several reasons, first it was the best weather for the race in 25 years, second it was the first time males were allowed to participate, and finally it was the first time any runner had received a proposal of marriage after finishing the 10K run. “I figured he was up to something this weekend but had no idea this was it until he got down on one knee and everyone started screaming.” Was this her best finish? “Of course it was my best finish ever, better than in Boston and I’d describe what I’m feeling as being over the Moon,” said Heather Gaines who accepted the proposal of her long time friend and running partner Scott Moon.
Winning this year’s 10K Run for Women was Dr. Angie Voight of St. Paul Minnesota who was visiting family in Kenai. “I plan my travels around races and this is one of my favorite courses and causes,” said Voight who is sports injury specialist and is training for the Twin Cities Marathon later this fall in Minneapolis. “The people here are so supportive here and it’s more about the cause of increasing awareness of domestic violence than the race and with the perfect weather it was a great day to set a good pace and stick with it, just like anything else in life,” Voight told the Dispatch in an interview.
For the last 24 years the LeeShore Run for Women has been exclusively for women runners, but to mark the 25th Anniversary organizers decided to open the event to young men, “Our goal and the purpose of the event is to promote healthy families so we decided to include young men 17 and under to run with us. The event is not a fund raiser for us but an awareness raiser and we feel it is very important for young men as well as everyone in the community to be aware of the problem of domestic violence in our community and help eliminate it,” explained Jeanette Browning, volunteer coordinator at the LeeShore Center. The first boy ever to cross the finish line in the Run for Women was Nate Mole a junior at KCHS also the first overall in the 5K run. The top three women finishers in the 5 K were Allie Ostrander, Taylor Ostrander, and Teri Ostrander, “It was an Ostrander sweep,” said Allie who has been promoting running all summer with her Salmon Run series of races at the Tsalteshi Trails. “We do it every year for the cause and because it’s not as intense as other races, that’s why so many enjoy running in it,” she said.
Formerly known as the Women’s Resource and Crisis Center and the LeeShore Center has been serving the Kenai Peninsula since 1977. The community built facility provides 24-hour domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, transitional living center, child care assistance, intervention program, and counseling services for women and children. For more information call The LeeShore Center at 283-9479 during business hours or the crisis line at 283-7257 any time.