It was a perfect day for the first running of the 10Mile/5K Unity Trail Run/Walk, perhaps a little bit too perfect according to seasoned marathon runner Steve Stenga.
"It was sure a lot hotter today than it was for the Chicago marathon," said Stenga, who was the primary coordinator for the historic event.
Steve who has run in both the Chicago and Boston Marathons got the vision for the Unity Trail Run over a year ago as the trail was being completed. Stenga thought that it would be a natural to have an annual run between the two cities, so he approached the Soldotna and Kenai Rotary Clubs with the idea and together with a host of community sponsors made the first Rotary Unity Run a reality this July. "Rotary will be celebrating its centennial in 2005, and we wanted to create a commemorative event that would not only celebrate Rotary annually in our community, but the unity and world peace that Rotary works towards through Service above Self," said Soldotna Rotary president Barbra Elson. "It was a great event and it's fun to have an event that our two clubs can collaborate on together," added Linda Snow, Kenai Rotary president.
Kelly Keating sets up the finish line clock at SoHi for the first Unity Run.
Transportation was provided for the runners from the finish line to the start at KCHS for the 10 mile run and to Glacier/ GMC Dealership for the 5 K. There had been speculation whether or not the one hour barrier would be broken for the first 10 mile run and broken it was with an original record time for the event being set at: 58 minutes: 44 seconds, by Idaho runner Carson Campbell. Campbell said he enjoyed the run very much and plans to return to defend his title and try to break his own record next year.
Just a few minutes off Campbell's pace was Kenai runner Mark Blanning who finished second in a time of 1 hour :3 minutes and :26 seconds, and in third was Kent Peterson of Soldotna coming in at 1 hour :7minutes :23 seconds. In the Women's run Rachel Goldstein set the record at 1 hour :13minutes :56 seconds, with Kenda Blanning and Jenni Mishler in an exciting kick to the finish line only seconds apart for 2nd and 3rd places. Winners of the 5K were Mick Boyle for the men with a time of 17 minutes: 47 seconds, and for the women Ari Goldstein to first place honors at 18 minutes: 44 seconds.
Carson Campbell from Idaho sets the record in the 1st 10 Mile Unity Run.
The inaugural event included prizes for the top three places in each category, runner's shirts and medals for all participants, a myriad door prizes and a post race barbeque that featured Chef Jerry Near at the Rotary Roaster.
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