Kenai’s Sarah Pribbenow and Antonya Hall run the half marathon at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, on Beaver Loop Road in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Sarah Pribbenow and Antonya Hall run the half marathon at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, on Beaver Loop Road in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Giessmann, Buckelew win Kenai River Marathon

Parks, Wilson take half marathon

Forty-nine down, one to go.

Carsten Giessmann, 52, of Irvine, California, won the men’s title at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday to scratch one more state off the list in his quest to run a marathon in all states.

Stacey Buckelew, 41, of Homer won the overall and women’s marathon crown by clocking 3:37:39, while Giessmann crossed at 3:40:28. Buckelew also won the women’s marathon last year.

Jason Parks, 32, of Soldotna followed up his marathon win last year by winning the half marathon in 1:10:37, while Anchorage’s Samantha Wilson, 37, won the women’s half marathon in 1:34:47.

Kicking Asphalt, the team of Sean Goff, Rustin Hitchcock, Alex Bergholtz and Dan Serventi, won the marathon relay at 2:59:57. Including relay runners, the event had 191 participants.

Giessmann, who was born in Germany, now has only Minnesota left in his quest to complete a project he started in 1998. Giessmann has been hampered by race cancellations in both Alaska and Minnesota.

“I’m very happy the great people here got the race up and running,” he said.

Giessmann said after a rough start to his marathon career, he really started pursuing all 50 states about 10 years ago.

“At some point, I thought I’d like to see more of the U.S. and this would be a great way to do that,” he said.

Giessmann showed how far he’s come by winning a men’s marathon title for the first time. He said he’s normally in the top 10% and his PR of 3:20 came in Delaware many years ago.

He flew into Anchorage on Thursday and drove around for a few days, with the highlight coming when he spotted a family of moose. He was staying at Alyeska Resort on Sunday night and was flying out Monday.

Giessmann said the course, with its modest elevation gain and pleasant scenery, was pleasant except for a wind that gusted over 20 mph. He did say the wind wasn’t as bad as a marathon he did in Kansas at the beginning of March.

With a wife and 16-year-old son at home, Giessmann is grateful he’s able to pursue his project. He also finds it very worthwhile.

“Running is a great way to clear your head, especially in times like these with racial injustice, the fires in California at my doorstep and COVID,” he said. “You can take your mind off of all those things and focus on yourself.”

Once Giessmann does Minnesota, he’d like to do a marathon in under 4 hours in every state, needing just New Jersey and Vermont to accomplish that.

Then Giessmann said it may be time to try for a half marathon in every state.

“I’m getting there now,” Giessmann said. “All of this training is getting to me.”

Last year, Buckelew ran 3:27:30 in driving rain and wind to win. This year, she was about 10 minutes off that mark despite the absence of rain.

Buckelew said she’s been working from home since the start of the pandemic. She wasn’t training adamantly because she had a hard time convincing herself the race would not be canceled.

“I wasn’t sure they were going to do this due to all the COVID uncertainty,” she said. “I really appreciate that they were able to get together and pull this off. It encourages people to get out and exercise.”

Buckelew said the organizers and volunteers did a great job of putting on a safe event.

“It’s been a crazy six months,” she said. “I was a bit shellshocked. I work from home and haven’t been around this many people.”

Both Buckelew and Parks agreed it was nice to be back on the traditional course, starting at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. The marathon loops through Soldotna, while the half marathon loops through Beaver Loop Road.

Not included was a rainy trip last year’s course took out and back on the Escape Route.

Parks said it was hope of doing the California International Marathon, and not lingering memories of the Escape Route, which had him opting for the half marathon this year.

Friday, he got an email that CIM had been canceled for 2020, but his fitness served him well in the half.

“I was a little bit injured last year and I wasn’t formally training,” he said. “This year, I was training full speed.”

His winning time was about two minutes faster than his previous PR in the race. He said he’s not sure why he’s running so fast right now, but he did say having a coach who keeps Parks from overdoing his training is a big help.

What wasn’t a big help was the wind.

“Fortunately, it was a looped course and the first half was a headwind and the second half was a tail wind,” Parks said.

He said his times running into the wind per mile were high 5:20s to 5:30, while having the wind at his back meant he was running 15 to 20 seconds per mile faster.

Soon after Parks finished, Wilson joined him as a winner of the marathon and half marathon.

Three years ago, Wilson won the marathon. She’s since had the third of her three children.

“There weren’t very many race options this year due to COVID,” she said. “I missed racing this season. The only race I did this year was in January.”

Wilson said her running group took a few months off in the spring, but she trained with the group this summer and surprised herself with a PR on Sunday.

“I was happy to see a good crowd,” she said. “With there not being many races this summer, I wasn’t sure how this would go.”

Kenai River Marathon

Chip times

Marathon (26.2 miles)

Women: 1. Stacey Buckelew, Homer, 3:37:39; 2. Emily Heale, Ken, 3:41:05; 3. Cheyanne Eisenmann, Kenai, 3:41:50; 4. Liz Raines, Willow, 3:47:06; 5. Mikie Pylilo, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 3:48:03; 6. Deborah Jensen, Wasilla, 3:48:42; 7. Teal Hall, Moose Pass, 3:58:27; 8. Amy Wendt, Houston, Texas, 4:33:47; 9. Susan Craig, Soldotna, 4:38:23; 10. Laura Hudson, Evansville, Indiana, 4:38:33; 11. Natalie Bickers, Palmer, 4:39:03; 12. Jen Metcalf, Newburgh, Indiana, 4:40:07; 13. Mary Elise Klueh, Evansville, Indiana, 4:41:59; 14. Jen Novobilski, Anchorage, 4:45:31; 15. Chiasto Johnson, n/a, 4:50:15; 16. Mike Fields, Newburgh, Indiana, 5:02:47; 17. Martha Klueh, Evansville, Indiana, 5:04:35; 18. Jessica Jaroma, Anchorage, 5:06:54; 19. Meghan Barker, Anchorage, 5:07:41; 20. Tessa Barker, Fort Collins, Colorado, 5:07:41; 21. Bethany Amarone, Fort Greely, 5:11:27; 22. Carol Scott, Kodiak, 5:23:06; 23. Amie Condon, Anchorage, 6:47:02.

Men: 1. Carsten Giessmann, Irvine, California, 3:40:28; 2. Michael Cummings, Sandy, Utah, 3:45:11; 3. Bryan Hesse, Anchorage, 3:48:22; 4. Michael Minchaca, Anchorage, 3:48:46; 5. Vance Foster, Anchorage, 3:49:54; 6. Christopher Bielinski, Littleton, Colorado, 3:52:32; 7. Robert Cassidy, Anchorage, 3:53:48; 8. Derek Williams, Fairbanks, 3:56:16; 9. Michael Smith, Coppell, Texas, 4:05:49; 10. Sankalp Shiva, Columbia, Missouri, 4:07:45; 11. Christopher Johnson, Denton, Texas, 4:07:45; 12. Jesse Johnson, Anchorage, 4:10:32; 13. Mikel Salzetti, Kenai, 4:11:42; 14. Dean Denter, n/a, 4:16:37; 15. Frank Glynn, El Segundo, California, 4:27:46; 16. Michael Fee, Anchorage, 4:37:54; 17. Darron Scott, Kodiak, 4:52:29; 18. Rick Early, Littleton, Colorado, 5:01:46; 19. Paul Bielinski, Franklin, Wisconsin, 5:19:57; 20. William Day, Eagle River, 5:44:50; 21. Paul Hanson, Anchorage, 5:47:45; 22. Austin Martin, Clam Gulch, 7:09:25.

Half Marathon (13.1 miles)

Women: 1. Samantha Wilson, Anchorage, 1:34:47; 2. Kristie Cotroneo, Sterling, 1:43:50; 3. Jill Franchino, Soldotna, 1:46:10; 4. Frieda Tuttle, Nikiski, 1:48:46; 5. Jessica Lloyd, Soldotna, 1:48:56; 6. Anna Cantrell, n/a, 1:53:37; 7. Jennifer Booz, Homer, 1:54:25; 8. Jenna Brown, Kenai, 1:55:52; 9. Christine Jones, Sutton, 2:00:57; 10. Antonya Hall, Kenai, 2:02:19; 11. Joell Restad, Homer, 2:03:47; 12. Michelle Harris, Anchorage, 2:04:03; 13. Nadia Anders, Kenai, 2:04:15; 14. Sarah Pribbenow, Kenai, 2:04:40; 15. Lindsay Hallam, Kenai, 2:05:51; 16. Danielle Seramur, Kenai, 2:06:17; 17. Erika Fitzgerald, Fritz Creek, 2:07:48; 18. Teslin Hacklin, Soldotna, 2:08:03; 19. Cynthia McMillin, Napa, California, 2:07:50; 20. Deann Denter, n/a, 2:08:41; 21. Sachiko Kwon, Anchorage, 2:08:21; 22. Kathy Trinh, Soldotna, 2:10:38; 23. Kali Glosser, San Gabriel, 2:11:19; 24. Kelly Murray, Edinburg, Virginia, 2:16:12; 25. Alane Hughes, Soldotna, 2:17:23.

26. Mary Crann, Kasilof, 2:20:09; 27. June Stuckey, Soldotna, 2:20:39; 28. Amy Donaldson-Brass, Taylorsville, 2:25:06; 29. Dawn Renken, Houston, Texas, 2:26:14; 30. Judy Gilliland, Cooper Landing, 2:27:15; 31. Tamara Hibberd, Kenai, 2:27:57; 32. Courtney Abel, Soldotna, 2:28:52; 33. Josie Lloyd, Soldotna, 2:29:57; 34. April Erhardt, Soldotna, 2:29:57; 35. Cathleen Kelly, Eagle River, 2:32:41; 36. Rebecka Schafer, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2:36:54; 37. Pamela McDonald, Lucedale, Mississippi, 2:41:07; 38. Brenda Beesley, Anchorage, 2:39:14; 39. Sharon White, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 2:40:22; 40. Pam Pitts, Lucedale, Mississippi, 2:41:07; 41. Katelyn SumSuden, Nikiski, 2:45:31; 42. Abbie Hall, Kenai, 2:47:23; 43. Madeline Warschak, Anchorage, 2:54:41; 44. Shelby Kaye Farthing, Columbia, South Carolina, 2:57:31; 45. Jolene McDowell, Wasilla, 3:10:55; 46. Shawn Cornelius, Anchorage, 3:25:59; 47. Lila Johnson, n/a, 3:27:50; 48. Julie Kaulgin, n/a, 3:27:51; 49. Teresa Halpin, n/a, 3:27:51; 50. Debra Hart, Soldotna, 3:28:49.

51. Julie Jokinen, Anchorage, 3:28:47; 52. Sara Peebles, Anchorage, 3:28:50.

Men: 1. Jason Parks, Soldotna, 1:10:37; 2. Orrin Burton, Anchorage, 1:25:58; 3. Matt Gibiec, Houston, Texas, 1:31:51; 4. Lee Frey, Soldotna, 1:32:35; 5. Dakoda Wholly, n/a, 1:43:19; 6. Don Connelly, n/a, 1:43:03; 7. Sean McClain, Wasilla, 1:49:50; 8. Larry Nickell, Wasilla, 1:50:33; 9. Larry Tews, Soldotna, 1:52:03; 10. Hollis Swan, n/a, 1:52:11; 11. Corey Farthing, Anchorage, 1:53:28; 12. Steve Greenspan, n/a, 1:56:11; 13. Nicholas Chapman, Nikiski, 1:59:15; 14. Matthew Tunseth, n/a, 1:58:53; 15. Samuel Anders, Kenai, 2:01:40; 16. Roy Stuckey, Soldotna, 2:06:15; 17. Eric Meier, Anchorage, 2:06:17; 18. Sean Carroll, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 2:09:05; 19. Michael White, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 2:11:59; 20. Bryan Farthing, Anchorage, 2:13:18; 21. Al Kelly, Eagle River, 2:32:42; 22. Brent Johnson, n/a, 2:44:27; 23. Cooper McCarthy, n/a, 2:48:48.

5 kilometers

Women: 1. Katie Baker, Soldotna, 28:03; 2. Ann Marie Sharp, Winchester, Virginia, 29:10; 3. Pamela Kellish, Fairbanks, 31:33; 4. Taylor Ewing, Nikiski, 32:56; 5. Elizabeth Cox, Nikiski, 32:57; 6. Betsy McKitrick, Anchorage, 36:30; 7. Kendalin Farthing, Anchorage, 35:49; 8. Christy Farthing, Anchorage, 37:20; 9. Maria Sweppy, Soldotna, 38:48; 10. Heidi King, Kenai, 38:39; 11. Jackie Checa, n/a, 38:38; 12. Jayme Jones, Kenai, 40:27; 13. Jamie Beever, Soldotna, 41:41; 14. Tina Meier, Anchorage, 43:13; 15. Diane Nickell, Wasilla, 47:27; 16. Jill Schaefer, Soldotna, 48:25; 17. Natasha Reutov, Sterling, 50:28; 18. Susan Duffy-Glynn, El Segundo, California, 51:00.

Men: 1. Pedro Ochoa, n/a, 18:30; 2. Kiel Brown, Soldotna, 23:31; 3. Jeff Murray, n/a, 25:37.

Marathon Relay

1. Kicking Asphalt (Sean Goff, Rustin Hitchcock, Alex Bergholtz, Dan Serventi), 2:59:57; 2. Just for the Run of It (Michelle Baxter, Whitney Bouchard, Carrie Setian, Terina Noteboom), 3:10:49; 3. Doc Squad (John Bramante, Chris Beaudoin, Nicko Josten, Danny Hyman), 3:33:40; 4. Slamernic (Randi Slama, Chelsea Koerber, Ryan Koerber, Dylan Rubinic), 3:46:23; 5. Seeing Double (Kristy Berington, Anna Berington, Kristy Berington, Anna Berington), 3:49:23; 6. Related Relayers (Ryan Martin, Josiah Martin, Riana Boonstra, Sonora Martin), 3:49:42; 7. Pink Puffers (Mags Kao, Juliet Bramante, Rob Cadoff, Danny Romman), 3:51:08; 8. Slave Beard Racing (Chelsea Wingard, Bethany Nyboer, Shannon Porter, Karlene Meyers), 4:01:12; 9. Are We There Yet? (Megan Pike, Nissa Fowler, Benjamin Morris, Anna Clock), 4:14:21; 10. Running away from our numerous problems (Michelle Theriault, Rebecca Palsha Hopkins, Arran Forbes, Emily Goodykoontz), 4:30:47; 11. Shin Sprints (Wendy Rice, Elijah Danbacher, Chris Morin, Viorica Thompson), 4:36:28; 12. #kindnesscountsatmtnview (Jenna Fabian, Dan Balmer, Callie Giordano, Katie Schneider), 5:35:56; 13. Fab 5 (Emily Knight, Hadassah Knight, Kelly Hicks, Penny Furnish and Yvonee Oren), 5:37:02.

Anchorage’s Samantha Wilson, the women’s half marathon winner, runs on Beaver Loop during the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Anchorage’s Samantha Wilson, the women’s half marathon winner, runs on Beaver Loop during the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ninilchik’s Elise Spofford supports Anchorage’s Julie Jokinen, Anchorage’s Sara Peebles and Soldotna’s Debra Hart in the half marathon at the Kenai River Marathon in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ninilchik’s Elise Spofford supports Anchorage’s Julie Jokinen, Anchorage’s Sara Peebles and Soldotna’s Debra Hart in the half marathon at the Kenai River Marathon in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Jason Parks, half marathon winner, leads the pack of marathon and half marathon racers from the start Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, at the Kenai River Marathon in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Jason Parks, half marathon winner, leads the pack of marathon and half marathon racers from the start Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, at the Kenai River Marathon in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Stacey Buckelew runs to victory in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Stacey Buckelew runs to victory in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

COVID-19.
11 new cases on the peninsula, borough’s positivity rate passes 7%

DHSS announced 200 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Monday.

A screenshot from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s COVID-19 dashboard shows current case trends and threat levels as of Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Screenshot courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Southern peninsula schools go to remote learning after increase in COVID-19 cases

Increase in COVID-19 cases pushes Southern Kenai Peninsula into high-risk category

The sign outside Soldotna City Hall is seen here on July 16, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s disaster declaration extended to Dec. 31

The resolution originally extended the declaration by 90 days.

A biker leads a line of cars driving off the Homer Spit at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, in Homer after a tsunami evacuation order was issued for low-lying areas in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer New)
Large quake prompts tsunami warning

A tsunami warning was issued at about 12:55 p.m. for low-lying areas in Homer and Kachemak Bay.

Kenai's Eric Thomason competes in the Moab 240 Endurance Run from Oct. 9 to 13, 2020, near Moab, Utah. (Photo by Eric Thomason)
Going long

Kenai’s Thomason finishes Moab 240 Endurance Run

A biker leads a line of cars driving off the Homer Spit at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Homer, Alaska after a tsunami evacuation order was issued for low-lying areas in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer New)
National Weather Service downgrades warning to ‘advisory’

Update: As of 2:45 pm. OEM has issued an all-clear notice for Homer and the Kenai Peninsula.

The entrance to the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, AK as seen on February 26, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Court reports for Oct. 18, 2020

Read the latest reports

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly unanimously approves construction of communications towers

Four towers will be constructed to expand internet access following an assembly vote Tuesday.

Most Read