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Unity Run draws big crowd

In just its 3rd year, event has over 100 entrants

Posted: Sunday, July 09, 2006

 

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  Millie Carlson receives congratulations from her mother, Kath, as she finishes the 5-kilometer race. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Max and Connie Best (obscured) run with Sue Seggerman, Bill Coghill and Tom Seggerman past lupine growing alongside the Unity Trail in Kenai near the start of the Rotary Unity Run's 10-mile event Saturday morning.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

A few years ago, Steve Stenga, a runner and a member of the Soldotna Rotary Club, thought it might be a neat idea to have a race from Kenai to Soldotna — something that would bring the two communities together.

More than 100 other people also thought it sounded like a good idea, and they gathered Saturday for the third annual Rotary Unity Run. Forty-two runners tackled the 10-mile course from Kenai Central High School to Soldotna High School; another 70 ran the 5-kilometer course, which started in front of the Glacier Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealership on the Kenai Spur Highway.

 

Rex Shields checks his time while running with Mark Blanning on a hill along the 10-mile event. The two finished first and second, respectively.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

“This is our third year. We’re starting to work the kinks out. It’s starting to flow pretty smooth,” Stenga said of organizing the event. “It’s a Kenai and Soldotna Rotary function. We thought it would be a neat thing to have a joint club, joint community activity.”

The race even has attracted runners from beyond the central Kenai Peninsula communities. In the men’s 10-mile race, Rex Shields, 17, of Springville, Utah, covered the course in 58 minutes, 15.8 seconds to finish in first place.

 

Steve Stenga, Greg Lincoln and Marc Johnson pass motivational signs quoting a cheer from the movie "Forrest Gump" near the halfway point of the 10-mile event Saturday.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

“It was fun. It went by pretty fast,” Shields said. “I ran the race two years ago and took fourth, so I wanted to do it again.”

Shields said he was able to pull away from his closest pursuers — Mark Blanning was second in 1:00:26.7, and Bill Keller was third in 1:01:26.2 — about seven miles into the race.

Shields, a recent high school graduate, was a standout prep runner in Utah and is working for his grandparents at the King Salmon restaurant and hotel in Kenai for the summer.

Winning the men’s 5-kilometer race was Allen Gearhart of Clinton, Miss., with a time of 18:29.1.

 

Millie Carlson receives congratulations from her mother, Kath, as she finishes the 5-kilometer race.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Gearhart is vacationing with his family — his father Greg was fourth in the 10-mile race while his younger brother Samuel and his mother Judy ran the 5-kilometer race.

Gearhart said it was a a little nicer to run in Saturday’s cool, overcast weather than it is in Mississippi summer weather.

“It’s not as humid. It makes it easier,” Gearhart said.

Mike Moerlein was second in the 5-kilometer race in 19:20.2 and Anton Weissenberg third in 19:50.3.

Soldotna’s Ari Goldstein won the women’s 10-mile race, completing the course in 1:03:50.9. She said the race fit nicely into her summer training plan as she prepares to head back to intercollegiate competition at Nebraska.

“It worked into my program for the summer,” Goldstein said. “I like to come out and get a few races in. It’s a good atmosphere.”

Goldstein was 9:54 ahead of runner-up Carry Setian. Kenda Blanning was third in 1:14:32.7.

Goldstein said it was nice to be able to catch up with friends in the peninsula running community, and added that she enjoyed running along the Unity Trail, the paved bike path that connects Soldotna and Kenai from which the race takes its name.

“I really like the Unity path, especially from Kenai to Soldotna. The hills are at the end, and then there’s that long downhill. It’s perfect, and it’s far enough from the highway that cars aren’t whizzing past you. I run on it quite a bit for training runs,” Goldstein said.

Molly Watkins, 15, said she was staying in shape for the upcoming swimming and cross-country ski seasons at Kenai Central High School after she took the women’s 5-kilometer event in 20:28.7.

“It felt short. I kept expecting someone to pass me, but they didn’t,” Watkins said. “It was pretty fun — one long downhill, then it was flat and smooth.”

Jeni Stenga was second in the 5-kilometer race in 22:05.6, and Allison Ostrander finished third in 22:49.5.

While Watkins enjoyed the downhill, Steve Stenga, who ran the 10-mile race, said he had another favorite part of the race.

“Everybody seems to enjoy the course. The finish — that’s what I enjoyed,” Stenga said.

Rotary Unity Run

10-mile results

Women — 1. Ari Goldstein, 1 hour, 3 minutes, 50.9 seconds; 2. Carry Setian, 1:13:45.0; 3. Kendra Blanning, 1:14:32.7; 4. Connie Best, 1:15.22.2; 5. Sue Seggerman, 1:15:22.4; 6. Jenni Mishler, 1:20:06.4; 7. Trish Kopp, 1:20:06.7; 8. Candy Goldstein, 1:21:24.6; 9. Mary Stenga, 1:21:34.1; 10. Satroene Jackson, 1:22:00.0; 11. David Paul, 1:23:35.8; 12. Michelle Restivo, 1:24:12.1; 13. Sylvia Andrus, 1:25:12.8; 14. Cami Solari, 1:31:06.6; 15. Lanie Hughes, 1:31:07.6; 16. Shelli Furlong, 1:33:14.6; 17. Tam Strausbaugh, 1:35:01.5; 18. Diedre O’Neill, 1:35:54.3; 19. Barb Belluomini, 1:41:19.9.

Men — 1. Rex Shields, 58:15.8; 2. Mark Blanning, 1:00:26.7; 3. Bill Keller, 1:01:26.2; 4. Greg Gearhart, 1:03:42.6; 5. Kent Peterson, 1:04:23.7; 6. Matt Setian, 1:05:41.4; 7. Glenn Peroni, 1:08:52.6; 8. Steve Stenga, 1:08:57.9; 9. Marc Johnson, 1:09:04.3; 10. Ryan Smith, 1:10:54.8; 11. Greg Lincoln, 1:11:46.7; 12. Jacob Hartman, 1:13:44.4; 13. Robert Burns, 1:15:17.1; 14. Bill Coghill, 1:15:54.1; 15. Max Best, 1:17:54.6; 16. Tom Seggerman, 1:17:54.8; 17. Kyle Martin, 1:23:23.9; 18. Michael Wicker, 1:23:25.4; 19. Michael Albrecht, 1:24:11.9; 20. Malcom Rooper, 1:24:58.7; 21. David Norecross, 1:33:34.2; 22. Jeff Belluomini, 1:33:48.6; 23. Glen Tinker, 1:37:35.2.

5-kilometer results

Women — 1. Molly Watkins, 20:28.7; 2. Jeni Stenga, 22:05.6; 3. Allison Ostrander, 22:49.5; 4. Kristine Moerlein, 24:28.5; 5. Taylor Ostrander, 24:57.5; 6. Elizabeth Scarlett, 25:40.9; 7. Amy Blackwell, 27:04.4; 8. Olga Weissenberg, 27:46.6; 9. Hilary Demke, 27:54.9; 10. Dani Rehm, 28:09.3; 11. Millie Carlson, 29:04.6; 12. Holly Krenz, 29:38.9; 13. Angela Hinnegan, 29:42.6; 14. Cindy Rehm, 32:34.6; 15. Andrea Reese, 34:58.3; 16. Sandra Hecht, 35:01.2; 17. Sarah Mohorcich, 35:12.3; 18. Laura Mohorcich, 35:12.6; 19. Savanna Schoessler, 36:07.6; 20. Judy Gearhart, 36:43.1; 21. Sue Krafft, 36:47.8; 22. Shayna McKinley, 40:41.1; 23. Sharon Dallman, 40:43.6; 24. Reagan Schoessler, 40:54.8; 25. Rachel Grossl, 41:22.6; 26. Madeleine Wilcox, 45:39.4; 27. Sidney McKinley, 45:42.9; 28. Lana Syverson, 46:40.0; 29. Linda Paul, 46:57.5; 30. Betty Dean, 47:09.7; 31. Shannon Penner, 47:34.5; 32. Adeena Wilcox, 48:07.4; 33. Julie Munchison, 49:11.1; 34. Dawni Giligler, 49:23.5; 35. Laura West, 49:23.9; 36. Christine Baerresen, 49:24.3; 37. Becky McLaughlin, 51:13.1; 38. Melissa Jenkins, 53:06.2; 39. Gayle Buben, 53:06.6; 40. Kayla McKinley, 59:37.0; 41. Renee McKinley, 59:39.6; 42. Tashina Wortham, 59:42.8; 43. Tammy Turnbull, 59:53.3; 44. Destiny Turnbull, 1:13:22.1.

Men — 1. Allen Gearhart, 18:29.1; 2. Mike Moerlein, 19:20.2; 3. Anton Weissenberg, 19:50.3; 4. Tyler Best, 21:20.9; 5. Aaron Julien, 21:23.1; 6. Ty Shields, 21:47.6; 7. Dima Klimtsov, 22:00.9; 8. Michael Stangel, 22:09.3; 9. Tim Roshal, 22:39.1; 10. Kyle Scarlett, 23:55.3; 11. Kenlay Scarlett, 23:55.9; 12. Kelton O’Donnoghue, 23:56.1; 13. Jim Duncan, 26:23.6; 14. Samuel Gearhart, 26:48.5; 15. Fred Pomeroy, 27:04.1; 16. George Stein, 28:22.7; 17. Doug Schoessler, 41:14.5; 18. Conner Schoessler, 45:27.3; 19. Craig Turnbull, 45:37.6; 20. Craig Turnbull Jr., 45:38.4; 21. Todd Syverson, 46:39.1; 22. Paul Wilcox, 48:07.0; 23. Travis McKinley, 59:12.0; 24. Shawn O’Donnoghue, 59:36.5; 25. Conner Turnbull, 59:51.0; 26. Kyler Wortham, 1:13:22.6.



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