The final running of the 2015 Salmon Run Series was held Wednesday, August 5th on a perfect sunny day at the Tsalteshi Trails. The 20th race since Alli Ostrander came up with the idea as a freshman for her Caring for the Kenai assignment. To honor her creativity and accomplishments as a runner; two time Olympian Holly Brooks and twice winner of the Mt. Marathon flew down to run and pass out medals to the kids who signed up to run in the 1K youth race. “Being in the Olympics is awesome, it’s an achievement that everyone dreams of growing up, but I have to say what I experienced here today is totally a lot of fun as well. The Salmon Series is a huge accomplishment for Alli and this community. To have the foresight and put the effort into learning the organizational skills and leadership this type of an event requires is amazing coming out of a 14 year old four years ago. She’s an inspiration to all of us and has the heart of an Olympian,” said Brooks, who uses running to cross train for skiing. “You don’t need any equipment to do and everyone can use it as a means of staying fit and healthy,” said Brooks who is looking forward to more skiing in the future, “I’m looking at long distance skiing around the world in events like 50K, 70K in 12 different countries. There’s the Tour of China coming up which is a stage race in China so I’ll be taking my skies to Asia in the future but look forward to having more time like this in Alaska where I can inspire the next generation,” said Brooks.
After registering the runners and passing out great door prizes to almost half of everyone who ran in the 20th Salmon Run, Alli Ostrander took a few moments to reflect on this year’s final Salmon Run, “It was such an awesome turn out tonight, having Olympian Holly Brooks here to represent healthy futures and hand out the medals personally for our kids race and then running the race herself made it a memorable night for me,” said Alli. In the four years she has organized the Salmon Run Series Ostrander estimates over 2,000 runners have participated in the races, “We’ve been averaging over a hundred racers each event the last two years. My original estimates for my CFK proposal was for an average of 25 so it’s been really awesome to watch it grow and more and more people learning to love running and getting healthy with their families,” she said. Regarding the estimated more than $40,000 the races have earned for environmental projects of the Kenai Watershed Forum she commented, “That’s a big number. As a high school freshman I thought I’d be able to raise maybe $2,000 from the project, but it turned out to be so much bigger than I ever imagined that everyone doing the CFK assignment should be encouraged to think big when having an idea to improve our environment,” said Alli, who packs up to pursue her future at Boise University.