Sheilah-Margaret Pothast and John Pothast of Soldotna near the end of the three-mile run at the Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Sheilah-Margaret Pothast and John Pothast of Soldotna near the end of the three-mile run at the Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Turkey Trot tops big Thanksgiving week for Freedom House

It’s been a big Thanksgiving week for Freedom House, which operates faith-based recovery homes in Soldotna.

Freedom House opened a women’s recovery home in May 2017 and this week got a $250,000 anonymous donation to purchase the building for a men’s recovery home.

Then a Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday that benefits Freedom House went from about 60 racers in the inaugural race last year to 154 participants. The response was so overwhelming the race ran out of registration forms.

“It’s a beautiful day with beautiful people on Thanksgiving,” said Jennifer Waller, Freedom House founder and director, of the sunny, blue skies and hoarfrost hanging on the trees. “My heart overflows already and I haven’t even gotten to the turkey yet.”

Waller was heartened because, even with the building purchased, Freedom House still must come up with $200,000 for renovations of the men’s recovery home.

The organization raised $500,000 for renovation of the women’s home, so Waller believes the community will come through again.

For instance, Freedom House didn’t even organize the Turkey Trot.

Sterling’s Kurt and Tammy Strausbaugh like organizing races for good causes. They’ve done the Moose River Hustle in spring for Meals on Wheels. This is the second year the Strausbaughs did a Turkey Trot for Freedom House. Kurt said there also will be a Shamrock Shuffle at the sports complex on St. Patrick’s Day to help the Soldotna Whalers Freestyle Wrestling Club raise funds to go to Las Vegas.

While Waller is thrilled with the Thanksgiving bonanza, she also received a reminder this week there is little time to waste. A man called asking for an application and Waller said she couldn’t accept any yet.

“We told him to keep checking every few weeks,” she said. “There is a need there.”

Waller said the paperwork to acquire the men’s home should be signed Dec. 14. The paperwork on the women’s home was signed Dec. 17, 2016, and the home was open less than six months later. She said the great thing is there is a mortgage on the women’s home, but the men’s home will be completely paid off thanks to the donor.

The Turkey Trot included 1.5- and 3-mile races. Women-first also was the theme of the 3-mile race.

Julianne Dickerson, 30, of Anchorage ran 16 minutes, 50 seconds, to top Ken Youngberg, 49, of Soldotna by a second.

Dickerson, a 2006 graduate of Wings Christian Academy, was born and raised in Kenai. She and her husband, Joseph Dickerson, were down visiting family for the holiday.

Julianne was initially bummed she’d miss the Turkey Trot in Anchorage, but then her sister, Naomi Daigle, discovered the Turkey Trot in Soldotna. Daigle also ran the race — her first run since giving birth on Sept. 11.

In an interview after the race, Julianne was told her name sounded familiar. She merely allowed that she had been doing some trail and mountain runs in the last few years.

After the interview, Joseph fessed up. Julianne had quite the Seward circuit this summer — finishing ninth in the Mount Marathon Race on July 4, running 58:45, then winning the women’s Lost Lake Run in late August.

“She’s quiet about it,” Joseph said.

Julianne certainly looked the part in defeating Youngberg. She caught him at the halfway point, opened up a slight gap, then outsprinted him at the finish.

“I thought he might have a good kick, so when I hit that corner, I took off,” she said.

Youngberg said Dickerson’s impressive accomplishments as a runner were one of a number of things that make him feel better about the loss.

“She’s beat me, but she’s 19 years younger than I am and she’s like half my weight,” Youngberg joked after the race.

Youngberg was at the race with daughters Angelica and Abigail, 5 and 12, and wife, Jennifer. His family and his work as a licensed clinical social worker keep him so busy that nearly all of his runs come indoors on a treadmill.

“Considering I run year-round on a treadmill indoors, it was pretty chilly,” Youngberg said.

The Strausbaughs have already committed to doing another Turkey Trot for Freedom House next year.

Editor’s note: The list of finishers is incomplete. Some runners with bib numbers covered up were not recorded.

1 Mile: 1. Kayden Daniels 9:33, 2. Trent Waller 11:01, 3. Brian Powell 11:23, 4. Willow Graham 11:49, 5. Avery Powell 12:37, 6. Gus Reimer 13:07, 7. Adam Reimer 13:13, 8. Naomi Daigle 13:46, 9. Joseph Dickenson 13:46, 10. Keziah Simons 14:00, 11. Nathan Powell 14:02, 12. Charlie Simons 14:05, 13. Kelli Stroh 14:49, 14. Sawyer Graham 15:30, 15. Sophie Rozak 15:31, 16. Mark Rozak 15:34, 17. Esther Nash 15:57, 18. Sarah Rozak 16:02, 19. Eliot Black 18:15, 20. Kim McMilin 18:20, 21. Sandi Crawford 18:29, 22. Laurie Lingafelt 18:30, 23. Samantha Morris 18:59, 24. Jathon Black 22:21, 25. Pamela Castenholz 23:11, 26. Clara Nelson 23:11, 27.Josselyn O’Connor23:30, 28. Jon Itsehnev 24:04, 29. Roy McNutt 24:04, 30. Angelica Youngberg 24:12, 31. Tamar Lundstrom 24:40, 32. Pamela Castenholz 24:40, 33. Nathan Nelson 25:44, 34. Angie Nelson 25:44, 35. Jennifer Youngberg 24:55, 36. Rachel Nash 26:39, 37. Barbara Walters 29:55

3 Mile: 1. Julianne Dickenson 16:50, 2. Ken Youngberg 16:54, 3. Sean Goff 18:03, 4. Josiah Martin 18:09, 5. Bill Wood 18:18, 6. Dwayne Gordon 18:41, 7. Jeff Helminiak 19:42, 8. Jacob Strausbaugh 19:44, 9. Sondra Stonecipher 20:06, 10. Nathan Kincaid 20:26, 11. Carl Kincaid 20:29, 12. Mark Fondren 21:03, 13. Ellie Eigsti 21:05, 14. Luke Eigsti 21:06, 15. Sid Maurer 21:40, 16. Jim Campbell 22:01, 17. Sue Maurer 22:04, 18. Jamie Nelson 22:46, 19. Mackenzie Lindeman 22:48, 20. Elizabeth Hardie 22:54, 21. Shantel Wilen 24:33, 22. Sarah Hubart 25:02, 23. Joy Hubart 25:04, 24. Stacy Tramier25:28, 25. Ryan Lundstrom 25:30, 26. Kate Tutela 25:33, 27. Chet Korensky 25:53, 28. Danielle Duplissie25:54, 29. Denise Newbould 25:56, 30. Ryan Kuch 26:17, 31. Eric Locker 26:18, 32. Lois Reimer 26:52, 33. Carly Reimer 26:52, 34. Sue Zimmerman 26:53, 35. Hans Schlegel 27:25, 36. Benjamin Schlegel 27:25, 37. Stephanie Wright 27:56, 38. Logan Duyck 28:11, 39. Garret Queen 28:11, 40. Chris Arbeleusky 28:43, 41. Jace Daniels 28:45, 42. Sheilah Margaret -Pothast 29:00, 43. John Pothast 29:00, 44. Kristy Miller 29:14, 45. Andrew Miller 29:14, 46. Jessica Lloyd 29:19, 47. Alyssa McDonald 29:22, 48. Jeff Perschbacher 29:38, 49. Marli Perschbacher 29:38, 50. Alicia Driscoll 29:48, 51. Clayton McDonald 29:49, 52. Kyle Braband 29:52, 53. Bailey Braband 29:55, 54. Brody Wenger 30:07, Kristen Wenger 30:12, 56. Carver Wenger 30:15, 57. Brandon Huffer 30:19, 58. Ivey Ross 30:55, 59. Olivia Kobylarz 31:20, 60. Tom Kobylarz 31:21, 61. Stephanie Kobylarz 31:37, 62. Ryan Queen 31:38, 63. Teagan Kobylarz 31:40, 64. Larissa Arbelousky 31:41, 65. James Eaton 32:25, 66. Donna Lee Blossom 32:54, 67. David Blossom 32:54, 68. Maria Sweppy 33:38, 69. Mason Snyder 34:18, 70. Nathanial Mcghan 34:27, 71. Kathy Hobart 34:59, 72. Ted McKenny 35:24, 73. Shelby Huffer 35:59, 74. Abby Huffer 36:00, 75. Piotr Kibala 36:25, 76. Heidi Snyder 36:28, 77. Anatoli Boutwell 36:55, 78. Lucas Oyoumick 37:02, 79. Kailey Cravell 37:39, 80. Amy McDonald 38:02,81. Elizabeth Kibala 38:42, 82. Jonas Oyoumick 39:32, 83. Kandi Barcus 39:43, 84. Jason Daniels 39:43, 85. Mickey Duyck 40:02, 86. Kelly Baber 40:19, 87. Anya Boutwell 40:19, 88. Ellen Duyck 40:37, 89. Forrest Nelson 40:19, 90. Tabitha Schultz 46:03, 91. Bill Tracy 78:00, 92. Carrie Wovrzyk 46:59, 93. Elaine Woodburn 48:21, 94. Eva Lloyd 50:58, 95. Elaina Lloyd 50:59, 96. Anya Lloyd 51:46, 97. Ellen Braband 52:31, 98. Josie Lloyd 52:31, 99. Aiden Wenger 52:47, 100. Kristen Wenger 52:47, 101. Harlan Lloyd 53:20, 102. Joel Oyoumick 53:46, 103. Sarah Oyoumick 53:47 104. Eileen Reemsta 55:23, 105. Phil Reemsta 55:23

Hans Schlegel, 40, of Soldotna and his son Benjamin near the end of the three-mile race at the Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Hans Schlegel, 40, of Soldotna and his son Benjamin near the end of the three-mile race at the Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Racers bolt from the start of the Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Racers bolt from the start of the Turkey Trot at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Thursday. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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