Chloe and Elijah Deatherage of Kenai, Alaska, race in the three-mile run of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the Kenai beach. Chloe was using the event to get back into running. She said she’d never run on the beach before, but would definitely do it again. Elijah would later win the drawing for the fat bike. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
                                Chloe and Elijah Deatherage of Kenai, Alaska, race in the three-mile run of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the Kenai beach. Chloe was using the event to get back into running. She said she’d never run on the beach before, but would definitely do it again. Elijah would later win the drawing for the fat bike. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Chloe and Elijah Deatherage of Kenai, Alaska, race in the three-mile run of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the Kenai beach. Chloe was using the event to get back into running. She said she’d never run on the beach before, but would definitely do it again. Elijah would later win the drawing for the fat bike. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion) Chloe and Elijah Deatherage of Kenai, Alaska, race in the three-mile run of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the Kenai beach. Chloe was using the event to get back into running. She said she’d never run on the beach before, but would definitely do it again. Elijah would later win the drawing for the fat bike. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Day at the beach

Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride connects people to place

Many take the opportunity to recreate at the Kenai beach for granted.

Not Will Steffe.

Steffe attends Montana State University in Bozeman and recently arrived in the area to intern for Marathon Oil for the summer.

He jumped at the chance to participate in the sixth Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday. The event, put on by Cook Inletkeeper, offers a 10-mile run or fat bike ride from the mouth of the Kasilof to the entry to the Kenai beach off Cannery Road. There is also a 3-mile run that runs from the entry to the mouth of the Kenai River and back.

The event drew 136 participants, just off the record high of 143 two years ago.

“I’m in a land-locked state, so running on the beach for 10 miles definitely appealed to me,” Steffe said after winning the men’s 10-mile run. “It was a great way to enjoy the long weekend.”

Last year, 10-mile runners and bikers got a luxurious tailwind and stiff sand on a day when life truly was a beach.

“Last year, it was a freeway,” said Jen Showalter, who won the women’s 10-mile ride.

Monday, competitors were greeted with a headwind and sand that started firm for the first 6 miles or so, but then had some extremely soft spots. There was also a smattering of rain that was, for the most part, respectful.

“This much rain is fine,” said women’s and overall 10-mile run winner Megan Youngren. “Driving sideways rain is no good.”

Tyle Owens of Sterling cruised to victory in the 10-mile bike in 44 minutes, 51 seconds. Last year, his time was 32:34 and Owens said he was sick that day. Owens said he put in a lot of work this winter and said he is a better rider than last year.

“This is a great fitness test,” he said. “Just put your head down and go.”

Martin Renner was second at 50:37 and Jon Iannaccone was third at 53:08.

Showalter won the women’s race at 1:02:09, but thoughts of glory are not what brought her out.

“I love to ride bikes and be out with this community,” Showalter said. “I’m just trying to keep up with my son, Landen.”

Like the rest of the women’s field, Landen couldn’t quite keep up with Jen, finishing 31 seconds behind his mother. Tammy Lafrancois was runner-up at 1:03:38, while Jennifer Tabor was third at 1:04:34.

Youngren picked up the overall win in 1:08:33, while Steffe crossed at 1:10:10. Anchor Musgrave was runner-up for the men at 1:13:29, while Kaden Matson was next at 1:13:51. For the women, Alexandria Bergholtz was second at 1:22:26, while Becca Hitchcock was third at 1:27:20.

Youngren said the field started fast, at 6:40 per mile, and she knew that would be a tough pace to maintain. The leaders took turns breaking through the wind for the first 3 miles, then the field gradually strung out until 7 miles in, when Youngren took control.

She said she looks forward to this race all winter.

“It’s right at the start of the summer, so it’s one of the things you can train for all winter,” Youngren said. “You never know what you’re going to get, whether it’ll be fast or slow.”

For Steffe, this was just the start of a summer of novel experiences that he hopes will include seeing Denali and sea kayaking in Homer. He has already hiked the Harding Icefield trail in Seward.

“I’ve never run on the sand before,” he said. “That headwind was tough. You’re already salty from sweating, then you’re getting more salt from the sea breeze.”

In the men’s 3-mile race, Jack Laker, who will be in eighth grade at Kenai Middle School, won what was essentially a backyard competition against his brother, Chase Laker, who will be in sixth grade at KMS. Jack won the race at 23:12, while Chase was next at 24:04.

The Lakers live on the beach in Kasilof, so this was a natural holiday activity for them.

“It’s a fun, family event, and it’s right on our beach,” said Julie Laker, the mother of the boys who finished the 3-miler in 34:19. “It’s also great to support Cook Inletkeeper.”

Leif Laker, who will be in the third grade at Kaleidoscope School, finished at 34:14. His father, Mark Laker, finished the bike race in 1:29:01.

The women’s victory went to Caitlyn Marang at 25:26, while Emily Knight was second at 26:44 and Nettie Kellar was third at 27:28.

The Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride was the perfect place for Marang. She loves being a part of her father’s team. Brian Marang finished fifth in the bike race at 55:43.

Caitlyn also feels strongly about protecting water and the benefits of education. She is studying elementary education at Kenai Peninsula College, a place that she said has been very influential in her life.

But winning the race? Marang wasn’t quite sure she could do that.

“I don’t run much, but I do a lot of cardio,” she said. “I wanted to surprise myself. I finished second last year and wanted to beat my time.

“When I won, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t know I could do that.”

The race was done in partnership with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Kenai Watershed Forum, Tsalteshi Trails Association, Kenai Peninsula Trout Unlimited, Biking in Kenai and Soldotna, and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

Eli Darien, a Kenaitze elder, shared with the racers at the awards ceremony a little about the educational fishery, as well as what the beach means to him.

Cook Inletkeeper’s mission is to protect clean water and salmon habitat, and also building a community to make sure people have a say in the resource development that happens in their community.

Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride

10-mile bike

Men: 1. Tyle Owens, 44 minutes, 51 seconds; 2. Martin Renner, 50:37; 3. Jon Iannaccone, 53:08; 4. David Edwards-Smith, 55:15; 5. Brian Marang, 55:43; 6. Joel Todd, 1:01:48; 7. Landen Showalter, 1:02:40; 8. Joel Martin, 1:02:59; 9. Luke Thibodeau, 1:04:29; 10. Bob Toll, 1:04:33; 11. Matthew Brown, 1:06:40; 12. Dylan Hogue, 1:09:12; 13. Ed Schmitt, 1:10:26; 14. Carl Kincaid, 1:10:41; 15. John Tabor, 1:11:48; 16. Rob Carson, 1:16:03; 17. Doug Armstrong, 1:16:32; 18. Darren Sanger, 1:18:03; 19. Ethan Hogue, 1:18:26; 20. Jason Wartle, 1:22:30; 21. Willy Dunne, 1:22:42; 22. Robert Carson, 1:23:40; 23. James Bennett, 1:24:51; 24. Justin Mosso, 1:25:00; 25. Wally Hufford, 1:28:44.

26. Bruce Vadla, 1:28:52; 27. Mark Laker, 1:29:01; 28. Harry Lacy, 1:29:03; 29. Matthew Mannhardt, 1:29:53; 30. Darrell Kincaid, 1:37:31; 31. Mark Scholenberger, 1:37:56; 32. Doug Hogue, 1:38:51; 33. Ed Dupre, 1:42:37; 34. Shay Hurd, 1:46:49; 35. Richard Metcalf, 1:52:17; 36. Lukas Renner, 1:57:04; 37. Dan Pitts, 2:08:58; 38. Kelly Sederholm, 2:08:59.

Women: 1. Jen Showalter, 1:02:09; 2. Tammy Lacrancois, 1:03:38; 3. Jennifer Tabor, 1:04:34; 4. Simone Owens, 1:09:03; 5. Megan Anderson, 1:13:15; 6. Martha Story, 1:15:09; 7. Dana McDonald, 1:15:36; 8. Maria Salzetti, 1:16:32; 9. Madison McDonald, 1:16:59; 10. Connie Vonn, 1:20:21; 11. Andrea Caballero, 1:22:42; 12. Sarah Apsens, 1:25:03; 13. Adele Pribbenow, 1:28:16; 14. Gina Delgalzo, 1:29:00; 15. Tammy Farrell, 1:29:35; 16. Dalls Voss, 1:31:00; 17. Virginia Litchfield, 1:31:04; 18. Lauri Lingafelt, 1:35:25; 19. Theresa Salzetti, 1:36:13; 20. Tasha Reynolds, 1:41:13; 21. Carol Boehmier, 1:41:30; 22. Christine Bergholtz, 1:42:36; 23. Audrey McDonald, 1:43:27; 24. Sandi Crawford, 1:43:44; 25. Kenna Bates, 1:46:05.

26. Devon Hurd, 1:46:48; 27. Becky Hutchison, 1:48:36; 28. Amy Hogue, 1:50:30; 29. Theresa Voss, 1:51:40; 30. Lana Metcalf, 1:52:18; 31. Mindee Morning, 1:59:41; 32. Janice Higbee, 2:00:36; 33. Marjorie Ringer, 2:00:48; 34. Reean Pitts, 2:08:24; 35. Denise Dutile, 2:08:36.

Non-binary: 1. Laura Carpenter, 1:31:59.

10-mile run

Men: 1. Will Steffe, 1:10:10; 2. Anchor Musgrave, 1:13:29; 3. Kaden Matson, 1:13:51; 4. Sean Goff, 1:20:03; 5. Mike Bergholtz, 1:23:03; 6. Ryan Peterson, 1:23:31; 7. Sam Satathite, 1:25:35; 8. Chad Flanders, 1:25:48; 9. Rustin Hitchcock, 1:26:38; 10. Trevor Davis, 1:29:05; 11. Kent Peterson, 1:29:41; 12. Jordan Chilson, 1:34:27; 13. Mikel Salzetti, 1:36:11; 14. Bill Taylor, 1:36:23; 15. Ryan Tunks, 1:40:16; 16. Evan Koehler, 1:41:55; 17. Jordan Klepges, 1:42:22; 18. Jonathan Borg, 1:55:33; 19. Roy Stuckey, 1:56:31.

Women: 1. Megan Youngren, 1:08:33; 2. Alexandria Bergholtz, 1:22:26; 3. Becca Hitchcock, 1:27:20; 4. Emily Heale, 1:27:20; 5. Heather Renner, 1:41:14; 6. Katy Meek, 1:41:55; 7. Elizabeth Earl, 1:45:21; 8. Chisato Johnson, 1:47:00; 9. Amy Baxter, 1:52:46; 10. Molly Copple, 1:55:33; 11. June Stuckey, 1:56:32.

3-mile run

Men: 1. Jack Laker, 23:12; 2. Chase Laker, 24:04; 3. Dan Chay, 27:33; 4. Gordon Shangin, 27:34; 5. Elijah Deatherage, 29:05; 6. Tom Rhyner, 33:59; 7. Leif Laker, 34:14; 8. Shane Blumentritt, 42:19.

Women: 1. Caitlyn Marang, 25:26; 2. Emily Knight, 26:44; 3. Nettie Kellar, 27:28; 4. Sara Bundy, 27:54; 5. Chloe Deatherage, 29:05; 6. Karalyn Veihdeffer, 29:31; 7. Rachel Babitt, 29:48; 8. Donna Edmunds, 31:40; 9. Fiona Follett, 31:44; 10. Suaitha Ramaer, 33:01; 11. Maya Chay, 33:12; 12. Heidi Chay, 33:12; 13. Hadley Kornelis, 33:57; 14. Jamie Beever, 34:09; 15. Julie Laker, 34:19; 16. KateMae Jallent, 34:29; 17. Terri Cowart, 36:16; 18. Callie Babitt, 40:29; 19. Etta Kornelis, 42:33; 20. Lydia Edwards, 42:34; 21. Mary Rhyner, 42:34; 22. Shaylee Blumentritt, 44:16; 23. RaChelle Bruenberg, 45:55; 24. Becky Hart, 45:55.

Tyle Owens rides to victory at the 10-mile bike of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Tyle Owens rides to victory at the 10-mile bike of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jen Showalter rides to victory in the 10-mile bike at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jen Showalter rides to victory in the 10-mile bike at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Will Steffe runs to victory in the 10-miler at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai. Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Will Steffe runs to victory in the 10-miler at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai. Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Will Steffe runs to victory in the 10-miler at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 27, 2019, at the beach in Kenai. Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

City of Kenai greenlights “People Counter Project”

The city will use $135,000 in federal CARES money to purchase cameras and other equipment.

A sign by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center shows where to vote on Aug. 21, 2018, for the Diamond Ridge, Homer, Alaska, precinct. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Election 2020: A how-to guide

When, where and how to vote in the Oct. 6 municipal election

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
113 new COVID-19 cases, 3 on peninsula

The state also reported three additional hospitalizations associated with the disease.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 17

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
COVID-19 prominent in Tuesday assembly action

Kenai, Soldotna and Homer reiterated their recommendations that residents follow CDC guidelines.

Daily school district COVID-19 risk levels: Sept. 16

Risk levels are based on COVID cases reported in a community and determine how schools will operate.

Soldotna High School English teacher Nicole Hewitt teaches her students remotely from her empty classroom at Soldotna High School on Monday, April 6, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly asks state to use 2019 enrollment counts to determine funding

The number of students currently taking classes in person is about 1,700 less than was expected.

Most Read