An Outdoor View: On running

At the First Annual Running of the Goats, recently held in Coventry, Kentucky, six of the devious critters went rogue, veering from the run’s planned route and causing chaos and consternation for the townsfolk and their police force.

What is it about running animals that grabs people’s attention?

I can see how it might be interesting to watch the Running of the Bulls, where a bunch of hold-my-beer-and-watch-this guys are pursued by animals that are capable of putting them in the hospital or the morgue. But why would anyone show up for a running of goats?

Yet, goat-running events are held at several venues. At most of them, a few docile animals are led, herded or prodded along a narrowly defined “parade route,” with the crowd sometimes forming a human boundary. Most of the viewers are families with children. There’s a lot of squealing and giggling, and an occasional “Oh, cute!” Baltimore’s Running of the Pigs probably attracts a similar crowd.

As you might expect, the Running of the Bulls attracts a different breed of watcher. People who watch bulls running hope to occasionally see someone stuck on the dangerous end of one. Just as it happens at the occasional auto race or air show, someone dies just often enough to keep people coming back for more. Between 50 and 100 people are injured each year at Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. In the past century, 15 people have been killed, nearly all by goring. A certain amount of maiming and dying is considered acceptable.

On the subject of running, in ancient times, most running was probably done because you were chasing something or something was chasing you. Nowadays, we humans run mainly for exercise, to raise funds for charity, or in competition against other runners. Only the undereducated run from something that can outrun them. Occasional running is done by fleeing felons and pursuing police, and juveniles of many species will occasionally break into a run seemingly just for the joy of it.

The most interesting “running-of” events involve people and animals running together. The only one of this type in Alaska that I’m aware of is the Running of the Reindeer, held during Anchorage’s annual Fur Rendezvous. Billed as “Alaska’s wackiest race,” the “racers” supposedly are trying to outrun a few reindeer, but no one is in much of a hurry to get to the finish line. Other than falling on an icy patch of pavement, there’s little danger. The Running of the Reindeer seems to be an excuse for people to put on crazy costumes and act goofy while supporting Toys for Tots.

With all the animals running around the Kenai Peninsula, Soldotna ought to host a running-of-animals event. After all, its “King Salmon Capitol of the World” sign has lost its gloss. The town could use an economic boost.

Consider this: In recent years, Pamplona’s highly popular Running of the Bulls has been accompanied by a Running of the Nudes, a protest run by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). All those naked people running around have no doubt made visiting crowds even larger, and even more enthusiastic. It could happen here.

I can see the posters now: “Come to Soldotna for the Running of the Grizzlies and the Nudes!”

Gentlemen, start your cash registers!

Les Palmer can be reached at

More in Life

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Unhinged Alaska: Bones

Just as we approached Ninilchik, we remembered that the Salmonfest would be in high gear

Minister’s Message: What a Friend we have in Jesus

Can Jesus really be your friend? Jesus said so Himself.

The procedure for this quick kimchi is much less labor-intensive than the traditional whole head method, and takes less time to ferment, making it ideal for first time kimchi-makers. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Garden fail — but kitchen win nonetheless

This quick kimchi technique is less labor-intensive than the traditional method

Kate Lochridge stands by one of her paintings for a pop-up show of her work on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by MIchael Armstrong/Homer News)
Pop-up exhibit shows culmination of art-science residency

The exhibit by Kate Lochridge came about after her internship this summer as a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Ernest S. Hollings Scholar and Artist in Residence

Minister’s Message: The power of small beginnings

Tiny accomplishments lead to mighty successes in all areas of life

A copy of “Once Upon the Kenai: Stories from the People” rests against a desk inside the Peninsula Clarion’s offices on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Hidden history

‘Once Upon the Kenai’ tells the story behind the peninsula’s landmarks and people

Artwork by Graham Dale hangs at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. These pieces are part of the “Sites Unseen” exhibition. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Apart and together

‘Sites Unseen’ combines the work of husband and wife pair Graham Dane and Linda Infante Lyons

Homemade garlic naan is served with a meal of palak tofu, butter chicken, basmati rice and cucumber salad. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Naan for a crowd

When it comes to feeding a group, planning is key

P.F. “Frenchy” Vian poses with a cigar and some reading material, probably circa 1920, in an unspecified location. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 6

The many vital chapters in the story of Frenchy fell into place

Jesus, God of miracles, provides

When you are fishing or eating them, remember how Jesus of Nazareth used fish in some of his miracles

Sugar cookies are decorated with flowers of royal icing. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Blooming sugar cookies

These sugar cookies are perfectly soft and delicious, easy to make, and the dough can be made long in advance