Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion John Hellen of Anchorage heads down the home stretch toward the finish line to take first place in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Hellen, who finished with a time of 3:08:04, will use his finishing time in the Kenai River Marathon when entering the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon, next summer.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion John Hellen of Anchorage heads down the home stretch toward the finish line to take first place in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Hellen, who finished with a time of 3:08:04, will use his finishing time in the Kenai River Marathon when entering the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon, next summer.

Hundreds turn out for 11th Kenai River Marathon

Sunshine and patchy blue skies kept the rain at bay for part of the day at the 11th annual Kenai River Marathon to make their annual tour of Kenai and Soldotna.

Groups of runners, 248 total, took off from the parking lot of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center in Kenai on Sunday morning to compete in the Kenai River Marathon. Families, friends and a lot of dogs saw them off in stages — runners in the full marathon took off at 9 a.m., followed by the half-marathon at 10 a.m. and the 5K at 10:15 a.m. Some teams run the marathon in relay style as well.

A little more than an hour later, the first half-marathon runner came barreling back down the parking lot more than 16 minutes ahead of the next half-marathon runner.

Derek Gibson of Soldotna rounded out his half-marathon in first place at 1:16:54. Gibson, originally from Tennessee, said he thought the race went well. Sunday’s race was far from his first rodeo.

“I ran most of the major races in Anchorage this summer,” he said.

The full marathon winner also led by multiple minutes. John Hellen of Anchorage finished with a time of 3:08:04, more than seven minutes ahead of Aaron Martin, who came in second with a time of 3:15:43.

He estimated he has run about 25 marathons, but Sunday was his first time running the Kenai River Marathon, he said.

“It was great,” he said. “The course is great, and really well marked.”

Hellen had a reason to keep up the pace: he will use his time from the Kenai River Marathon as his seed qualifier for the internationally famous Comrades Marathon in South Africa. The event, the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon, attracts thousands of participants every year from a host of countries around the world. The race will take place June 4, 2017, which gives Hellen a little less than eight months to train. This year’s winner, David Gatebe, finished the race with a time of 5 hours, 18 minutes and 19 seconds.

“It’s a 90K,” he said. “…It’s a reason to travel, to see places.”

Runners can use the Kenai River Marathon to qualify for other races because it is a certified marathon route. Getting a course certified takes rigorous measuring and documentation through the U.S.A. Track and Field Association, which the Kenai River Marathon organizers have done. It is one of 12 certified full-marathon courses in the state and the only certified full marathon on the Kenai Peninsula.

Participants come from all over the state and some from out of state, said Bob Frates, Kenai’s Parks and Recreation director, who coordinates the race. The race has had runners from a variety of backgrounds, from a barefoot man running as a fundraiser to casual runners taking at a stab at running marathons or half-marathons in all 50 states. The half-marathon has a much larger participant base, and the 5K run brings families out to run along the path through Old Town Kenai and along the beach road back to the starting line.

“We call it our 5K-ish,” Frates said.

The Kenai River Marathon kicked off in 2006 and has grown steadily since. Proceeds from the race go to benefit the Kenai Community Foundation, which supports the development of parks and recreation in and around Kenai. This year, runners came from all over the peninsula and from states like Wisconsin, California, Georgia and Maryland.

Amid the classic rock songs booming from the finish line and cheering as runners began to stream in, finishers and those supporting them laughed and munched on reindeer sausages. Finishers ducked inside the visitor’s center to nab cups of Kassik’s Brewery ales or some of the snacks for finishers.

After last year — when rain persisted throughout the day, making the pavement slick and chilling the runners — the weather seemed to be perfect for running, Frates said.

“We got really lucky,” he said.

For the full results of all the Kenai River Marathon races, check the sports section on Page A-8.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

 

Results

Half marathon

1, Derek Gibson, Soldotna, 1:16:54; 2, Jeff McDonald, Kenai, 1:33:06; 3, Frederick Dickerson, Homer, 1:33:39; 4, Sean Goff, Kenai, 1:37:45; 5, Andy Haas, Homer, 1:41:49; 6, Carl Kinkaid, Sterling, 1:41:49; 7, Susan Craig, Soldotna, 1:42:10; 8, A.J. Perez, JBER, 1:42:16; 9, Glen Rice, Kenai, 1:43:43; 10, Mark Frischkorn, Anchorage, 1:47:17; 11, Bill Taylor, Kenai, 1:47:43; 12, Don Connelly, Soldotna, 1:47:48; 13, Emily Heale, Kenai 1:48:10; 14, Kat Roch, Eagle River, 1:48:24; 15, Emilie Otis, Homer, 1:49:01; 16, Ashley Tonione, Soldotna, 1:49:35; 17, Hanna Young, Homer,1:50:05; 18, Duane Kujala, Anchorage, 1:50:32; 19, Randy Wiest, Homer, 1:51:59; 20, Sondra Stonecipher, Soldotna, 1:51:59; 21, Larry DeBoard, Seward, 1:53:29; 22, Eric Cafmeyer, Eagle River, 1:53:36; 23, Lisa Wells, Kenai, 1:54:20; 24, Stefani Kochen, Irvine, CA, 1:55:31; 25, Patrick Goodrich, Homer, 1:56:21.

25, Malachi Slice, Atlanta, GA 1:56:37; 26, Soch Lor, Anchorage, 1:57:24; 27, Heather Renner, Homer, 1:57:24; 28, Erin Kuester, Anchorage, 1:57:32; 29, Jessica Cochran, Kenai, 1:57:34; 30, Cliff Cochran, Kenai, 1:57:08; 31, Rachel Allmendinger, Homer, 2:00:28; 32, Joanna Riley, Homer, 2:00:41; 33, Christian Santiago-Millan, Anchorage, 2:01:39; 34, Sue Mauger, Homer, 2:01:56; 35, Tiffany Tison, Corapeake, NC, 2:02:40; 34, Susan Pfeiffenberger, Soldotna, 2:03:07; 35, Melanie Goerne, 2:03:31; 36, Jen Novobilski, Anchorage, 2:03:45; 37, Brianne Steed, Soldotna, 2:04:17; 38, Kelly Murray, Edinburg, VA, 2:06:37; 39, Julie DeBoard, Seward, 2:07:21; 40, Sara Bundy, Soldotna, 2:07:28; 41, Katie Boneta, Eagle River, 2:07:36; 42, Keith Harvey, Anchorage, 2:07:44; 43, Linnea Cafmeyer, Chugiak, 2:09:26; 44, Lacey Brown, Kenai, 2:10:45; 45, Madison Gartman, Anchorage, 2:10:51; 46, KatieMae Tallent, Kenai, 2:11:13; 47, Copper Booth, Kenai, 2:11:14; 48, Joanna Greene, Homer, 2:13:23; 49, Julie Doepken, Seward, 2:13:36; 50, Marianne TeBeau, Grand Haven, MI, 2:15:42. 

51, Jenna Fabian, Seward, 2:16:17; 52, Barry Johnson, Wasilla, 2:16:59; 53, Jacqueline Fabrizzio, Chugiak, 2:17:02; 54, Julie Harvey, Anchorage, 2:17:35; 55, Anthony Boneta, Eagle River, 2:24:49; 56, Sherry Perry, Seward, 2:28:50; 57, Bill Larned, Soldotna, 2:31:47; 58, Elizabeth Baur, Farmington, MI, 2:38:37; 59, Austin Martin, Clam Gulch, 2:39:24; 60, Bonnie Mastolier, Homer, 2:42:16; 61, Valerie Mastolier, Anchorage, 2:42:16; 62, Shannon Fehrenbach, Champaign, IL, 2:43:52; 63, Bodhi Rekker, Kenai, 2:43:52; 64, Kelly Lawson, Kenai, 2:44:01; 65, LuAnn Wickeham, Menasha, WI, 2:46:09; 66, Kimberly Graham, Anchorage, 2:47:26; 67, Maria Sweppy, Soldotna, 2:47:49; 68, Christina Beck, Kenai, 2:55:21; 69, Cara Hollingsworth, North Pole, 2:57:42; 70, Shelly Deano, Eagle River, 3:01:10; 71, Robert Weathers, Jr., Salcha, 3:03:12; 72, Valerie Weathers, Salcha, 3:03:12; 73, Scott Partlow, Wasilla, 3:12:25; 74, Gerri Tokar Hines, Wasilla, 3:12:25; 75, Johna Beech, Kenai, 3:13:14.

76, Vanessa Jagasia, Anchorage, 3:29:38; 77, Jaylee Brendel, Anchorage, 3:29:40; 78, Anna LaRoche, Kenai, 3:33:35; 79, Yvonne Oren, Kenai, 3:34:47; 80, Teresa Mullican, Kenai, 3:54:09; 81, Neva Wynn, Kenai, 3:54:10; 82, Sharon Pleier, Wasilla, 3:54:10; 83, Barb Wodzin, 4:10:26; 84, Ruth Bratz, Anchorage, 4:10:27; 85, Beth Knorr, Anchorage, 4:10:27; 86, Tami de Leon, Anchorage, 4:10:27.

 

Marathon

1, John Hellen, Anchorage, 3:08:04; 2, Aaron Martin, Anchorage, 3:15:43; Ken Felchle, Soldotna, 3:17:09; 4, Michelle Mitchell, Homer, 3:23:12; 5, Joanne Myles, Eagle River, 3:32:34; 6, Kay Evans, Chocowinity, NC, 3:34:12; 7, Tom Deakins, Anchorage, 3:35:00; 8, Tony Covarrubias, Palmer, 3:38:23; 9, Tara Schmidt, Homer, 3:44:50; 10, Kevin Lauver, Sterling, 3:47:51; 11, Aleta Phelps, Homer, 3:48:14; 12, Kamie Miller, Eagle River, 3:56:55; 13, Eric Meier, Anchorage, 3:57:57; 14, Tony Cook, Anchorage, 3:58:15; 15, Dean Denter, Eagle River, 4:03:05; 16, Jerry Jenkins, Anchorage, 4:09:12; Debbie Vitanza, Anchorage, 4:10:49; 18, Donald Rhinehart, Kodiak, 4:13:24; 19, Terry Schnese, Anchorage, 4:13:41; 20, Gerald King, Dunkirk, MD, 4:18:04; 21, Sean Campbell, Homer, 4:18:52; 22, Amanda Cherok, Homer, 4:20:19; 23, Christine Jones, Sutton, 4:22:28; 24, Jennifer Booz, Homer, 4:23:12; 25, Lila Johnson, Homer, 4:25:53.

26, Erika Thompson, Homer, 4:26:02; 27, Tersa Davenport, Champagin, IL, 4:32:57; 28, Krista Stephens, Anchorage, 4:34:38; 29, Haley White, Eagle River, 4:35:13; 30, Nadia Anders, Kenai, 4:39:54; 31, Eric Thomason, Kenai, 4:59:46; 32, Teresa Aldridge, Trapper Creek, 5:00:23; 33, Carly Vangstad Boyd, Anchorage, 5:04:12; 34, Patty Kroppe, Reading, PA, 5:04:42; 35, Ted Martinez, Austin, TX, 5:05:41; 36, Chantelle Slice, Atlanta, GA, 5:15:13; 37, Philip Schadd, Bad Axe, MI, 5:30:20; 38, Thomas Ball, Anchorage, 5:54:02; 39, James Feaster, Anchorage, 6:13:34; 40, Berni Borealis, Anchorage, 6:32:38. 

5K

1, Caed Myles, Eagle River, 22:26; 2, Dylan Hogue, Soldotna, 22:29; 3, Dave Roch, Eagle River, 22:56; 4, Jeff Murray, Edinburg, VA, 23:42; 5, Samuel Anders, Kenai, 27,36; 6, Elizabeth Floresch, Kenai, 28:05; 7, Daniel Anders, Kenai, 28:07; 8, Jody Goodrich, Homer, 30:48; 9, Jessie Goodrich, Homer, 30:49; 10, Viorica Thompson, Kenai, 32:03; 11, Laura Orenga de Gaffory, Anchorage, 33:06; 12, Carol Schadd, Bad Axe, MI, 38:32; 13, Jill John-Kall, Austin, TX, 38:59; 14, Tina Meier, Anchorage, 39:33; 15, Becky Hart, Soldotna, 40:26; 16, Natasha Reutov, Sterling, 41:11; 17, Karen Reagan Scoggins, Kenai, 44:11; 18, Teagen Kobylarz, Soldotna, 46:56; 19, Tom Kobylarz, Soldotna, 46:57; 20, Olivia Kobylarz, Soldotna, 49:59; 21, Stephanie Kobylarz, Soldotna, 50:02; 22, Kathi Trawver, Anchorage, 55:17; 23, Sam Schillachi, Soldotna, 56:51; 24, Desiree Rhinehart, Kodiak, 57:44.

 

Marathon Relay 

1, Satathite-Love, 3:19:19; 2, Tesoro, 3:36:10; 3, 4 Strykers, 3:37:37; 4, Coffee.RUN.Wine, 3:55:32; 5, R.I.O.T., 4:12:55; 6, Slow But Steady, 4:28:51; 7, A.P.Rs, 4:43:32.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Ken Felchle of Soldotna closes in on the finish line at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Felchle finished third in the full marathon race with a time of 3:17:09.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Ken Felchle of Soldotna closes in on the finish line at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Felchle finished third in the full marathon race with a time of 3:17:09.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Ava Fabian, 10, of Seward, cheers on her mom Jenna Fabian as she finishes a half-marathon run at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Ava Fabian, 10, of Seward, cheers on her mom Jenna Fabian as she finishes a half-marathon run at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska.

Hundreds turn out for 11th Kenai River Marathon

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Ava Fabian, 10, of Seward, cheers on her mom Jenna Fabian as she finishes a half-marathon run at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska.

Hundreds turn out for 11th Kenai River Marathon

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Ava Fabian, 10, of Seward, cheers on her mom Jenna Fabian as she finishes a half-marathon run at the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Derek Gibson of Soldotna takes a deep breath as he crosses the finish line after running the half-marathon event in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Gibson took first place in the half-marathon event with a time of 1:16:54, more than 16 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Derek Gibson of Soldotna takes a deep breath as he crosses the finish line after running the half-marathon event in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Gibson took first place in the half-marathon event with a time of 1:16:54, more than 16 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Susan Craig of Soldotna keeps up the pace as she heads toward the finish line in the half-marathon event of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Craig finished seventh in the half-marathon with a time of 1:42:10.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Susan Craig of Soldotna keeps up the pace as she heads toward the finish line in the half-marathon event of the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska. Craig finished seventh in the half-marathon with a time of 1:42:10.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Joanna Riley of Homer heads down the home stretch of her half-marathon run in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion Joanna Riley of Homer heads down the home stretch of her half-marathon run in the Kenai River Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 in Kenai, Alaska.

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