Emma Mullet is the creator and organizer of Emma’s Run, a 5-K race that was held Saturday in Kenai.
42 runners, walkers, and joggers registered at the Kenai Visitor’s center, and took off from the start and finish line in the Visitor Center’s parking lot at noon. Each participant paid a $10 entry fee, which will be donated to the Memphis, Tennessee-based non-profit Saint Jude’s Children Hospital, a research and treatment organization for children with cancer.
Although Mullet, a 6th grade student at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary, described herself as “more of a skier” than a runner, she created Emma’s Run to coincide with St. Jude’s Give Thanks fundraising walk, a nation-wide series of 5K races held the weekend before Thanksgiving. According to a St. Jude’s website, this year’s Give Thanks Walk included events held in “over 65” nation-wide locations.
Last year, Mullet received a mail pamphlet advertising the Give Thanks walk. She wanted to participate, but found that all the locations were in the lower 48. She contacted Johna Beech, director of the Kenai Visitor’s Center, about hosting a 5K event in Kenai.
“We had two weeks to put it all together, because I wanted to do it on the day of the actual run that they put on,” Mullet said. “So we somehow managed to put something together, and had 17 people show up.”
Last year’s race raised $1300. This year Mullet set a goal of raising $2000 dollars.
“We really enjoy living in a community that’s able to give so freely and help us out,” said Emma’s mother Monica Mullet, a special education teacher at Kalifornsky Beach elementary. “Especially with Emma being younger and coming up with an idea — people really took her seriously, and that was nice.” Mullet credited the warmer weather and ice-free sidewalks for this year’s increased attendance. Beech, who ran in this year’s race for the first time, agreed.
“It’s a good day,” said Beech. “The weather’s cooperating — last year we were post-holing through snow.”
The 5 kilometer route of Emma’s Run was the same route used for the Kenai River Marathon series. Mike Crawford, one of the volunteers from Tsalteshi Trails Association who timed the race and distributed number bibs to runners, said it was a good route because it included both pavement and dirt and had no road crossings.
Tony Eskelin was the first to finish the course, with a time of 20 minutes and five seconds. Carl Kincaid finished in second place with 21 minutes and 35 seconds, and Emily Heale came in third with 23 minutes and two seconds.
After the race, Mullet announced that she had so far raised $1500. Mullet’s fundraising effort also included seeking donations from local businesses, which she said will have until next week to continue contributing.