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27th annual LeeShore Center Run for Women brings the spirit

Posted: August 9, 2014 - 10:20pm  |  Updated: August 11, 2014 - 4:28pm
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Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cassie Collins said the Run for Women 10k was her first 10k race ever, and she came in ten minutes faster that she predicted, Saturday, August 9, 2014, at the Kenai Park Strip, Kenai, Alaska.
Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cassie Collins said the Run for Women 10k was her first 10k race ever, and she came in ten minutes faster that she predicted, Saturday, August 9, 2014, at the Kenai Park Strip, Kenai, Alaska.

Blustery conditions could not stop a boisterous crowd of runners from toeing the start line in the 27th annual LeeShore Center Run for Women, Saturday morning in downtown Kenai.

The wind may have tempered the race times that are usually seen in five- and 10-kilometer races, but it didn’t even touch the spirit of racers running for a good cause. Take the 35-year-old twin sister duo of Harmony Curtis and Melody Niichel of Kenai, whose names just coincidentally jived perfectly with the atmosphere of the event as they paraded across the finish in brightly colored tutus.

“We usually like to do the community events, even though we’re not very athletic,” Niichel jabbed.

Niichel is regularly associated with events for a good cause, and Curtis is a Kenai Peninsula Borough employee and a Soldotna Rotary member. Both women finished midpack in the 5K event.

“Melody is involved with Green Dot Violence Prevention campaign, and we know so many people that if we dress up everyone could recognize us,” Curtis said.

The spirit shown by the sisters was only a slice of the enthusiasm that encompassed the crowd on the Kenai park strip. The race is a benefit for the LeeShore Center, which, since May 1977, has served as Kenai and the central Peninsula’s 24-hour domestic violence and sexual assault shelter — providing a safe place for women and children to go.

Heidi Clement, 32, won the 5K race with a time of 24 minutes, 26 seconds, over a minute faster than the rest of the field.

“That was the longest finishing stretch of my life!” Clement said. “It feels like forever.”

Clement, from Anchorage, said this is her third race she’s won, but the sweetest.

“I’ve been really sick all summer, and last Friday was the first day my doctor gave me the go-ahead to start working out again,” Clement said. “This is my first weekend back to running.”

Clement’s 33rd birthday is also coming up Friday, so she’ll be celebrating with a doubleheader of races, starting with the Alyeska Mountain Run on Saturday and ending with the Big Wild Life 5K Sunday in Anchorage.

“I love Kenai, and my friends have a place on the river, so we thought we’d come down and do this run while we’re here,” she said. “We like to support events like these, because they’re for a great cause.”

Even the fastest runners in town decided to join in on a good cause and compete for the fun, not the win.

The 10K race was won by Travis Cooper, a senior at Kenai Central High School, with a time of 40:08, with the Ostrander sisters of Allie and Taylor close behind. However, Cooper made a show of it and ran alongside the Ostrander’s as the three approached the finish line together as an attempt to be co-winners.

“Travis cheated,” Taylor joked. “We said we were gonna finish united, and he went on to beat us.”

The elder Ostrander added that their mother, Teri, usually runs in the race every year and encourages her daughters to support the LeeShore Center.

“We just wanted to come and support the event,” Taylor said.

The Ostranders said they have never competed in the 10K distance before, and got a good firsthand experience with the brutal winds off the nearby Cook Inlet.

“The headwind was not very fun,” Taylor said.

“The way back was nice because we had a tailwind,” Allie added.

Allie just wrapped up the Salmon Run series, a five-race summer series that Allie created two years ago that has seen continual growth, with 165 runners turning out Wednesday evening at Tsalteshi Trails. Ostrander does not usually race her own series, but she went for it Wednesday night and won the women’s race with a speedy 16:42, less than a minute behind men’s winner Rex Shields.

 

LeeShore Center Run for Women

Saturday in Kenai

WOMEN

10 kilometers

1. Allie Ostrander, 40:07; 2. Taylor Ostrander, 40:08; 3. Anna Widman, 44:00; 4. Debbie Cropper, 44:54; 5. Susan Craig, 48:25; 6. Terri Saito, 48:40; 7. Heather Moon, 48:57; 8. Jane Fuerstenau, 50:26; 9. Giuliann Houshin, 51:32; 10. Nadia Anders, 53:37; 11. Amy Baxter, 53:43; 12. Samantha Calderwood, 53:50; 13. Sondra Stonecipher, 55:49; 14. Julie Litchfield, 56:03; 15. Morgan Aldridge, 56:21; 16. Tamara Miller, 57:18; 17. Jen Showalter, 58:15; 18. Kaley Hunter, 1:00:14; 19. Dana McDonald, 1:00:19; 20. Dana Hunter, 1:00:44; 21. Cassie Collins, 1:02:47; 22. Julie Moore, 1:02:56; 23. Lanie Hughes, 1:03:06; 24. Kerri Nelson, 1:06:02; 25. Christine Morin, 1:06:05.

26. Shannon Bird, 1:07:25; 27. Maria Sweppy, 1:10:08; 28. Bobbi Lay, 1:11:57; 29. Kathy Hammer, 1:18:57; 30. Kelly Hicks, 1:18:58; 31. Matthea Boatright, 1:22:08; 32. Rosey Combs, 1:25:58; 33. Barbara Combs, 1:25:59; 34. Penny Furnish, 1:29:30; 35. Kirsten Boatright, 1:30:42; 36. Brooke Vukelich, 1:41:48; 37. Patricia Hamilton, 1:41:48; 38. Rebecca Branson, 1:41:49; 39. Natalie Kohler, 1:41:51.

Five kilometers

1. Heidi Clement, 24:24; 2. Kasey Paxton, 25:39; 3. Katie Cooper, 26:09; 4. Viorica Thompson, 26:32; 5. Terri Cowart, 27:57; 6. Markie Shiflea, 28:26; 7. Linda Hotchkiss, 28:27; 8. Jennifer Kandas, 28:31; 9. Hadassah Udelhoven, 28:47; 10. Naomi Barker, 30:02; 11. Megan Anderson, 30:02; 12. Charlene Spiers, 30:10; 13. Amelia Mueller, 30:18; 14. Adrenne Chambers, 30:35; 15. Kathy Calloway, 30:35; 16. Megan Mueller, 30:51; 17. Julie English, 32:08; 18. Amy Hogue, 32:31; 19. Harmony Curtis, 32:40; 20. Melody Niichel, 32:40; 21. Melodie Epperheimer, 33:06; 22. Eileen Bryson, 33:14; 23. Story Clement, 33:54; 24. Tyann Boling, 34:04; 25. Jenny Warren, 34:13.

26. Rinna Carson, 34:28; 27. Beth Selby, 35:02; 28. Patsy Marston, 35:17; 29. Adara Warren, 35:19; 30. Patricia Montgomery, 37:20; 31. Jane Kincaid, 38:07; 32. Monique Spiers, 38:16; 33. Jennifer Tollackson, 39:38; 34. Alice Anderson, 39:42; 35. Sandra Sterling, 40:21; 36. Julia Hanson, 40:27; 37. Kaylee Fann, 40:30; 38. Linda Loranger, 40:52; 39. Sara Morre, 40:52; 40. Mariah Sorrels, 41:05; 41. Cat Patrick, 41:20; 42. Ariana Cannava, 44:25; 43. Katrina Cannava, 44:25; 44. Carol Hussey, 44:33; 45. Delaney Bittle, 44:37; 46. Kassy Bittle, 44:37; 47. Susan Smalley, 45:08; 48. Paula Standefer, 45:09; 49. Carolyn Frost, 45:53; 50. Marry Starrs Armstrong, 46:15.

51. Kajsa Sjoberg, 46:17; 52. Lisa Turner, 46:19; 53. Laura Henkelman, 46:52; 54. Yvonne Oren, 47:18; 55. Donna Peterson, 47:31; 56. Beth Kellie, 47:31; 57. Carol Atkins, 48:52; 58. Raelynne Murphy, 49:09; 59. Donna Bartman, 51:16; 60. Melinda Reyna, 51:21; 61. Bonnie Garwood, 51:30; 62. Lori Peikert, 51:47; 63. Ashley Soares, 51:47; 64. Tammi Linn, 53:02; 65. Amy Worfle, 53:12; 66. Mary Kennedy, 53:13; 67. Chelsey Murdoch, 53:21; 68. Barb Pankratz, 53:30; 69. Jennifer Joanis, 53:32; 70. Louise Martin, 53:44; 71. Patricia Reilly, 54:25; 72. Kathy Bush, 54:26; 73. Michelle Teates, 54:41; 74. Odette Jamieson, 54:43; 75. Joan Seaman, 54:44.

76. Loralee Anderson, 55:03; 77. Khloe Anderson, 55:04; 78. Mary Beth Green, 56:45; 79. Gwen Woodward, 56:49; 80. Cynthia Peavey, 56:55; 81. Tammy Kincaid, 57:23; 82. Jessica Johnson, 1:00:40; 83. Nicole Cunningham 1:00:41; 84. Jennifer Ticknor, 1:00:42.

BOYS

10 kilometers

1. Travis Cooper, 40:07.

Five kilometers

1. Nate Kaaihue, 25:30; 2. Tyler Johnson, 27:54; 3. Tucker Mueller, 30:49; 4. Dylan Hogue, 31:36; 5. Devin Murphy, 49:12; 6. Shannon Murphy, 49:14; 7. Gabriel Joanis, 53:21; 8. Jacob Joanis, 59:21.

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