Salmon run benefits community

A LITTLE BIT OF RAIN WEDNESDAY DURING the finale of the Salmon Run Series at Tsalteshi Trails didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the participants. It also couldn’t wash away the vitality the series has brought to community fitness and Kenai Peninsula watersheds.

The Salmon Run Series grew out of a 2012 Caring for the Kenai project by Allie Ostrander, a Kenai Central junior who will defend her Class 4A state cross-country title this season. Ostrander decided to have a five-run, late-summer series at Tsalteshi Trails. The proceeds go to scholarships for summer camps of the Kenai Watershed Forum, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the health of watersheds on the Kenai Peninsula.

Ostrander expected only 25 to 50 runners to show up, but in its second year the series exceeded 100 runners in every race.

The series has given the community a chance to bond around physical activity and protecting the watersheds of the Kenai Peninsula.

Local businesses have stepped up to the plate, sponsoring 60 race bags at each event, helping to pay for race expenses, and providing food and drink at the finish line.

And Tsalteshi Trails, itself a testament to what a community bonding together can produce, has served as an able host, providing a different five-kilometer course for each race.

The series even spawned Salmon Cycle Series on Thursday at Tsalteshi, a series that has drawn over 20 cyclists each race.

Kudos to Ostrander and all the members of the community who have pitched in to make the run and cycle series happen. We hope they have started an institution that will benefit community fitness and watersheds across the peninsula for years to come.

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