When it’s 20 degrees and snow covers the entire Turkey Trot course, and most entrants are saying, “At least it’s not as cold as last year,” you know you’re probably in Alaska.
Fifty-two runners got together at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center amidst gathering clouds for the T200 Turkey Trot on Friday.
Last year’s inaugural trot was held in 10-degree temps, but it felt colder because a lot of the course is shaded from the sun, and because memories of winter days in Alaska don’t tend to grow warmer over time.
Black Friday once again proved that running outside isn’t so crazy. It also proved such thinking may be hereditary, with twins finishing atop the men’s and women’s five-kilometer races and many choosing to make the event a family affair.
Crazy? Jordan Theisen, a sophomore from Kenai Central who won the five-kilometer race by finishing just in front of his twin brother, Jonah, doesn’t think so. Jordan’s time was 21 minutes, 58 seconds, while Jonah clocked in at 22:18.
“I think they’re crazy not to be running,” Jordan said. “It’s a nice way of life.”
The race is put on by the Tustumena 200. It was started last year as a way to raise funds for the race, and still carried that purpose this year.
However, Tami Murray, the president and race director for the T200, said the T200 is in much better financial condition this year. The Turkey Trot was done as much to encourage gathering around outdoor activity as it was to give the T200 a fiscal stimulus.
Runners appreciated the opportunity to engage in running that didn’t involve scoring the best possible price on the latest video game console.
Pam Burns, who won the women’s 10-kilometer race in 52:54, ran part of the race with her son, Zach. Last year, Burns’ daughter, Ellie, had also joined in the fun, but this year she watched.
“It’s nice they have something like this in the wintertime, especially right after Thanksgiving,” Burns said.
After the Theisen twins (fraternal) crossed the finish line 1-2 in the men’s 5K, twins Kristy and Anna Berington (identical) crossed the line at the same time to win the women’s 5K. Anna was credited with the win in 29:56.
The race gives them the twin benefits of running in the winter — a passion of theirs — and supporting mushing — a passion of theirs.
In the spring, Kristy is shooting to complete her fourth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, while Anna is aiming for her second.
Kristy is glad the area has a winter race, and wouldn’t mind a “Jingle Jog” being added around Christmas.
The race meant enough to Kristy that she shook off a bout with plantar fasciitis to run. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of plantar fascia, the tissue on the bottom of the foot.
“There were a couple of slips, but the course was sanded really well,” Anna said. “The worst part was the exhaust from the highway.”
“That’s not something we’re used to running on Cohoe Loop Road,” Kristy said.
The most competitive race of the day was the men’s 10-kilometer. James Tangaro held off the hard-charging duo of Michael Abrahamsen, his future son-in-law, and Sam Satathite to defend his title.
Tangaro won in 43:23, while Abrahamsen was at 43:25 and Satathite was at 43:26.
Tangaro said he had been battling a cold for the past week, and it took him several minutes after the race to take more than a couple breaths without breaking into brief periods of coughing.
“I hope this pushes the rest of it out of me,” Tangaro said of the illness. “It always feels good to run, especially the day after Thanksgiving.”
Last year, Tangaro defeated Satathite by a little more than under three minutes. He said he was hoping for a similar result this year.
“Usually, it’s nice to be pushed — either chasing someone or running right next to someone,” Tangaro said. “Today, with the cough, I was kind of hoping to just come out here and cruise.”
No such luck. Sean Goff, who finished fourth at 43:48, led the first 2 1/2 miles. Once Tangaro reeled him in, he had to worry about Satathite and Abrahamsen. Tangaro said he kept a little in reserve in case either of them drew even so he could sprint to the finish.
Could Satathite have caught Tangaro with another 100 meters?
“Maybe, as long as he didn’t know I was coming,” he said.
Satathite said he loves running in the winter, although he runs a few times a week, and cross-trains other days, to keep the risk of injury down. One thing he doesn’t like as much is running alone, so the race is a highlight.
“Last year, I just did this race on a whim, and I ended up really liking it,” he said. “I was looking to see if they were going to do it again this year, and I’m glad they did.”
The T200 will continue with its outreach through outdoor recreation with the T200 Cross Country Ski and Skijor on Dec. 16 at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School. Murray said the event is back after taking last year off. It is the lone time during the ski season when dogs are allowed on Tsalteshi Trails.
T200 Turkey Trot
Friday in Kenai
5-kilometer — 1. Jordan Theisen, 21 minutes, 58 seconds (men’s first place); 2. Jonah Theisen, 22:18 (men’s second place); 3. Adam Agosti, 28:15; 4. Anna Berington, 29:56 (women’s first place); 5. Kristy Berington, 29:56 (women’s second place); 6. Zach Burns, 30:02; 7. Megan Smith, 32:09; 8. Regina Theisen, 32:22; 9. Kari Nabinger, 33:35; 10. Janet Arneson, 33:36; 11. Sonia Auld, 33:44; 12. Shannon Bird, 34:16; 13. Kimberly England, 34:26; 14. Tom Kobylarz, 35:06; 15. Linda Kidd, 36:31; 16. Callie Diztrich, 36:31; 17. Markie Shiflea, 36:31; 18. Danielle Caswell, 36:33; 19. Zion Alioto, 42:13; 20. Domonic Alioto, 46:48; 21. Suzanne Alioto, 46:50; 22. Aiden Huff, 46:51; 23. Tucker Mueller, 51:24; 24. Spring Larrow, 57:58; 25. Chantelle Rose, 57:58
26. Karah Huff, 59:21; 27. Heather Huff, 59:27; 28. Owen Huff, 59:27; 29. Chris Morin, 1:00:57; 30. Mindee Morning, 1:00:57; 31. Pako Whannell, 1:01:20; 32. Elaine Agosti, 1:01:22; 33. Amelia Mueller, 1:04:22; 34. Marcus Mueller, 1:04:23; 35. Meg Mueller, 1:04:23; 36. Tammi Lynn, 1:07:42.
10-kilometer — 1. James Tangaro, 43:23 (men’s first place); 2. Michael Abrahamsen, 43:25 (men’s second place); 3. Sam Satathite, 43:26; 4. Sean Goff, 43:48; 5. M. Scott Moon, 46:08; 6. Scott Huff, 49:23; 7. Jon Agosti, 52:53; 8. Pam Burns, 52:54 (women’s first place); 9. Elizabeth Hardie, 53:22 (women’s second place); 10. Hondo Jones, 55:23; 11. Mary Fischer, 59:30; 12. Kristen Morrow, 59:30; 13. Greg Russell, 1:07:13; 14. Maria Sweppy, 1:10:21; 15. Gretchen Kraus, 1:10:57; 16. Tony Oliver, 1:10:57; 17. Johna Beech, 1:16:55.