On a day that saw temperatures barely teeter between zero and two degrees Fahrenheit, more than 40 people braved the bitter cold to participate in Friday’s T200 third annual Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
As the race began, runner’s emotions bounced between joy and angst. Happy to finally be moving in hopes of warming up, but not so grateful to be having the constant reminder of the below freezing temperatures whipping against their faces with every step.
The frigid temperatures did not deter participants from showing up, however. Race director and president of the T200, Tami Murray, said that more people signed up this year than last year.
“We had a few more than last year, and a lot more people signed up for the 10-kilometer,” Murray said.
This year’s Turkey Trot was sponsored by the Tustumena 200 sled dog race in conjunction with Kenai River Interact.
“In the past we have taken part in the Christmas Comes to Kenai, but this year we partnered with the Kenai River Interact Club and moved it to Soldotna since they are based here,” Murray said.
The Interact club is a new part of the Rotary club made up of students from Skyview and Soldotna high schools that are looking for community projects to be a part of.
“It was a natural fit for us, we were looking for a partner on the event and what could be better than a bunch of young, motivated kids to help on a turkey trot!” Murray said.
Two individuals who participated in this race were as motivated to finish ahead of the pack as they were to finish ahead of each other. Jordan and Jonah Theisen finished similar to how they did at least year’s event. But this year saw Jordan finish just one second ahead of his twin brother, Jonah, in a time of 21 minutes, 56 seconds to win the student’s race. The competition between the brothers is friendly.
“It usually alternates who wins. I would say that it is fifty-fifty,” Jordan Theisen said.
But why run a five-kilometer race on the day after Thanksgiving?
“We are getting into some of the bigger races in the ski season. So we have to do everything we can to get into better shape,” Theisen said. Jordan and Jonah are juniors at Kenai Central.
Karl Romig, of Cooper Landing, was also running to get in shape. Romig had knee surgery just a month ago, but still won the men’s 5K in a time of 26:50.
“It’s fun to do little races here and there instead of just training. I’m building back up because I’m going to run the Boston Marathon,” Romig said.
Soldotna resident, Danielle Caswell, enjoys the atmosphere of the race and supporting the community.
“I’m always up for a good run, not to mention this race supports the T200 Sled Dog Race here on the peninsula,” Caswell said.
Not only did the cold weather not bother Caswell, it actually encouraged her.
“It’s rather invigorating running in the cooler weather, and I find I have a better sense of accomplishment completing a race in such extreme conditions,” she said.
Sean Coff won the men’s 10K race in 42:51, while Guillermo Sepulveda was the fastest male student runner in 48:26. Elizabeth Hardie won the women’s 10K with a time of 54:58, and the fastest female student runner was Becca Steithite in 57:31.
Even though the T200 is a few months away, Murray said the Turkey Trot is a great way to get the race on peoples radars and their calendars.
“The T200 celebrates its 30th Anniversary the first Saturday in February, the Turkey Trot helps to raise awareness and to raise a few dollars for the race,” Murray said.
All of the proceeds from the Turkey Trot will be split with Interact. But all of the T200’s profits will go toward vet care on the trail.
“We have multiple vets at each checkpoint and these dollars will help to make sure they have everything they need for taking care of the dogs that need it,” Murray explained. “That includes, straw, dog food and medical supplies.”
As for next year’s Turkey Trot, Romig, Caswell and the Theisens plan on running again. “There was a great turnout this year and I definitely recommend this race to others. Don’t let the cold weather scare you away,” Caswell said.
The T200 is looking for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, you can visit their website at www.tustumena200.com.
5-kilometers — 1. Jordan Theisen, 21 minutes, 56 seconds; 2. Jonah Theisen, 21:57; 3. Karl Romig, 26:50; 4. Carl Kincaid, 28:27; 5. Janie Nelson, 28:34; 6. Kristy Berington, 30:16; 7. Anna Berington, 30:16; 8. Sondra Stonecipher, 31:45; 9. Richard Bond, 32:23; 10. Riana Boonstra, 33:14; 11. Mackenzie Lindeman, 33:22; 12. Regina Theisen, 33:27; 13. Judi Hansen, 35:40; 14. Patty Moran, 35:11; 15. Danielle Caswell, 35:21; 16. Richard Torres, 36:21; 17. Tanner Ussing, 38:17; 18. Shannon Bird, 38:37; 19. Vigel LaRicca, 38:48; 20. Rachel Tangaro, 40:06; 21. Bill Hansen, 42:43; 22. Grace Morrow, 45:26; 23. Emma Mullet, 45:30; 24. Mindee Morning, 55:16; 25. Chris Morin, 55:16; 26. Samuel Anders, 1:24:12; 27. Daniel Anders, 1:24:30; 28. Nadia Anders, 1:24:30.
10-kilometers — 1. Sean Coff, 42:51; 2. Tony Eskelin, 43:14; 3. James Tangaro, 44:16; 4. Guillermo Sepulveda, 48:26; 5. Mark Dixon, 48:39; 6. Scott Huff, 52:07; 7. Elizabeth Hardie, 54:58; 8. Connie Ferguson, 56:14; 9. Becca Steithite, 57:31; 10. Sam Satathite, 57:31; 11. Amy Baxter, 59:06; 12. Kristen Morrow, 1:01:55; 13. Eric Askew, 1:07:27; 14. Maria Sweppy, 1:12:18; 15. Keni Yamaguchi, 1:12:26; 16. Monica Mullet, 1:33:02.