Tsalteshi Trails will see a lot of action even before the first snowfall with a number of running and mountain biking events taking place on the trail system during the summer months, including the Soldotna Cycle Series, the Salmon Run Series and the Rotary Unity Run.
Thursday night, the Soldotna Cycle Series kicked off with its first 10-kilometer mountain bike race throughout the trails.
“The trails get progressively harder as they go on,” Mark Beeson, a Tsalteshi Trails board member and series organizer, said. “And the series runs every Thursday for nine weeks.”
Registration for the 10k races starts at 5:45 p.m., with the race beginning at 6:15 p.m. Race day registration costs $5 for Tsalteshi Trails members and $10 for nonmembers.
“We’re going to do something fairly similar to last year, but we’re also getting some new trails put in at Tsalteshi, so if possible we might use that,” Beeson said.
Tsalteshi is also home to the Salmon Run Series, which are a series of 5k races held every Wednesday night from July 5 to August 2. Before each 5k race, there is also a 1k race for children.
“We do encourage the young kids to come out and participate,” Tami Murray, development director of the Kenai Watershed Forum, said. The forum runs the weekly series, with help from sponsor Central Peninsula Hospital.
The races are in their sixth year and started when Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander, who recently padded her considerable running resume with an NCAA title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, came up with the idea for her Caring For the Kenai project.
“Allie O. is working on the trails now, working on those courses,” Murray said. “She has been heavily involved … and the trails will be different every week, but we try to do the first trail the same as the last so people can gauge how they’ve progressed over the season.”
Registration for the Salmon Run Series is now open online at the Kenai Watershed Forum’s website. Individual races cost $10, or $45 for all five races. Participants can register on-site before the race for $15. The children’s 1k race is on-site registration only and costs $5.
“All the funds from these races will support the Adopt-A-Stream program,” Murray said.
Another familiar race is returning this year and making its debut at the Tsalteshi Trails system.
The Rotary Unity Run, taking place July 15 at 9:30 a.m., is being hosted by the Tsalteshi Trails Association and the Rotary Club of Kenai River. The race, traditionally run on the Unity Trail from Kenai Central High School to Soldotna High School, has found a new venue and will include a five-mile option or a 10k option.
“The five-mile race is a flatter, easier course,” Beeson said. “The 10k course is more difficult. … In the past it was a 5k and a 10-mile, but 10 miles is a little long for Tsalteshi.”
The race changed locations because of insurance difficulties, according to Kenai River Rotary President Bill Radtke.
“We had the Unity Run for years, with all three of the Rotary Clubs working together, but there were insurance issues, with running on the road and stopping cars,” Radtke said.
Both groups are really looking forward to the new venue.
“We’re easing into a new era of this and seeing how it goes,” Beeson said.
Race registration is online at the Tsalteshi Trails Association website. Adult registration costs $20 and registration for children 12 and under costs $10. Tsalteshi Trails members receive a $5 discount.
“With the Rotary Funds, we have some great projects locally, nationally and internationally that we do,” Radtke said. This includes the club’s maintenance and development of Arc Lake and the surrounding area, which the club hopes to expand with the addition of trails and lights.
For more information on the events at Tsalteshi Trails, visit their website at tsalteshi.org.
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org