The tradition of the Rotary Unity Run is well rooted in the twin cities of Kenai and Soldotna and goes back over 13 years when marathon runner and Soldotna Rotarian Steve Stenga proposed the event. The popular Unity Trail connecting the two cities had been recently completed when Stenga saw the parallel between Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self and initiating a 10 mile and 5K race that would draw runners to the community. Since then hundreds of runners from all over the country have come to participate and claim title to the Unity Run Championship. The event this year was a partnership between the Kenai River Rotary Club and the Tsalteshi Trails.
Claiming the highly competitive overall 5 K Championship this year for the first time was SoHI grad Sadie Fox, who has been chasing Ali Ostrander throughout since she started running in middle school, “She motivated us all to be faster and run harder, we all wanted to beat her but we were all really good friends even though we went to rival schools,” said Fox, who will be skiing for UAA this fall. “I didn’t know if I could win the overall or not, but when I saw I was running in second I thought I could pick up a little and claim the win. It was my fastest time in the 5K,” Sadie said. Taking the 10 mile Unity Run crown was an Anchorage runner Sam Tilly who blistered the course in less than 55 minutes with an official time of 54:11;2, “We use to put out an impromptu water station when were kids and I was down visiting my wife’s family so when I saw the poster at Kaladi Bros. I thought why not,” Tilly told the Dispatch. Jonah Theisen came in second to Tilly and Paul Ostrander placed an impressive third. Taking the Women’s 10 mile was repeat Unity Champion Heather Moon with a time of 1:12; 5, “It was a blast! I think the hills help you power through the rest of the race,” said Moon who is an RN and breast cancer navigator at CPH, “I think running is physically and emotionally a benefit to a healthy life, there is research that proves that being physically active reduces your risk of getting cancer and emotionally can help you deal with a cancer diagnosis if that happens. It’s good for your mind and body overall,” she said. Breast cancer navigation is open to everyone in the community at CPH for more information call 714-4404 and ask for Heather Moon or Amber Avery.