Lukas Renner, 8, gets off his bike to walk through the soft sand before the final hill to the finish Monday, May 29, 2017, at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride. Many riders were calling that soft sand and hill the toughest part of the course. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Lukas Renner, 8, gets off his bike to walk through the soft sand before the final hill to the finish Monday, May 29, 2017, at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride. Many riders were calling that soft sand and hill the toughest part of the course. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Life’s a beach: Wild Run and Ride thrives in new date

Sunny weather, a new date on the calendar, the possibility of a free fat bike and a new three-mile running race spurred the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on to new participation heights Monday.

The Mouth to Mouth race takes bikers and runners 10 miles on the beach from the mouth of the Kasilof River to the beach entrance off Cannery Loop Road.

This is the fourth year for the race, which had 67 participants in its first year and had never done better than that since. That was until Monday, when 143 dotted the beach.

The race supports Cook Inletkeeper’s work ensuring clean water and healthy salmon in the Cook Inlet watershed.

This year’s race was moved from mid-June, when the race calendar is packed and summer in Alaska is in full swing, to the last day of Memorial Day weekend.

Kaitlin Vadla, the Central Peninsula Regional Director for Cook Inletkeeper, said changing a date can always be risky, but this change was for the better.

“And it didn’t hurt we were raffling off a fat bike,” she said.

The lure of a fat bike is easy to discern on a day such as this. Whether it was the sand or rocks that stood between bikers and the finish line, the fat tires assured smooth sailing.

So much so that the men’s and women’s winners didn’t register it as a full workout.

For men’s winner Eric Thomason of Kenai, Monday was a day off from training for the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon. Thomason won at 37 minutes, 36 seconds, while Martin Renner was second at 37:51 and Nathan Kincaid was third at 39:15.

The Alaskaman will be held July 15. It starts with a 2.6-mile swim in Resurrection Bay, then a 112-mile bike ride from Seward to Bird Ridge. Then comes a 27-mile run from Bird Ridge to Girdwood, with the run punctuated by a run up, down, then another up on Mount Alyeska.

Thomason was coming off what he called a training camp for the Alaskaman with fellow central peninsula residents Heather Moon and John McDonald.

This was Thomason’s training week.

Tuesday was climbing Bird Ridge and additional running in Girdwood. Wednesday was a 2.7-mile swim in Resurrection Bay. Thursday was Kal’s Knoya Ridge Run, all 8.5 kilometers and 4,300 vertical feet of it.

Friday was a day off, followed by a 40-mile bike ride Saturday and a 17-mile run Sunday.

“All I do is eat, sleep, train and work,” Thomason said.

Women’s bike winner Megan Anderson has a similar penchant for activity, as the name she used to register for the race shows.

Anderson registered as “Bandit Damnit,” the name she goes by as a fighter.

“I kickboxed for two hours before I got here,” she said. “My whole life is about exercise.”

Anderson just got her fat bike in March. She was expecting a stiff test from Ashley Tonione, but Tonione had her chain come off in the first 10 minutes of the race, making for a triumphant Mouth to Mouth debut for Anderson.

She won at 48:41, while Amy Angleberg was second at 48:56 and Jennifer Tabor was third at 50:01.

“It’s awesome,” she said of the race. “Everyone is so colorful lined up on the beach.”

For the runners, the 10-mile race on the beach is definitely the whole workout.

That’s the main reason Matt Adams, an even coordinator for the summer with Cook Inletkeeper, and Vadla came up with the idea of an additional three-mile beach run, which drew 54 participants. Andrew Noble was the men’s winner at 22:55, while Leah Fallon was the top women’s runner at 23:46.

Adams is no slouch as a runner, having won the Class 1-2-3A state cross-country title for Seward in 2004 before going on to run as a collegian.

But the run is even challenging for him.

“A 10-mile run on the beach is pretty intense,” he said. “I’m a runner and it tired me out. I think for most people, the run is pretty intimidating.”

So the three-mile run was born. Another benefit of the run is it reaches the mouth of the Kenai River, which the 10-mile race does not. That better fits the name of the event.

Adams found stiff competition in the run, and it was entirely his fault. When he bumped into Travis Mabe at Inletkeeper’s office in The Map Shop in Soldotna, Adams suggested that Mabe run the race.

Mabe has an internship for the summer at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge doing environmental education and visitors services, but he also has a nice resume as a runner, having competed at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, before graduating in 2015.

Mabe won at 56:32, while Adams finished at 57:26.

Like Adams, he found running on the beach challenging.

“I tried to find the best spots to run and avoid the spots that were really rocky,” he said.

Mabe also was amused to see a four-wheeler passing out beer at the five-mile mark.

“It’s common to have beer at the finish line in Michigan but not in the middle of the race,” Mabe said.

Mabe passed on the midrace beer. Running 10 miles on a beach tilted left was challenging enough to balance as it was.

Women’s winner Annie DuBois came to do the race on a suggestion from her friends and because the event supports such a good cause. She won at 1:28:17, while Alice Main was next at 1:33:01.

She, too, said the run was difficult enough without beer.

“I was weaving up and down the beach trying to find a more level spot,” she said. “I talked about maybe even running backward for a bit.”

Adams and Vadla thanked all the volunteers and sponsors for making the event come together.

Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride

Three-mile run — 1. Andrew Noble, 22 minutes, 55 seconds (1st men’s); 2. James Butler, 23:02 (2nd men’s); 3. Leah Fallon (1st women’s); 4. Gregory Fallon (3rd men’s); 5. Jack Laker, 24:35; 6. Leif Lofequist, 24:41; 7. Nathan Anderson, 25:15; 8. Sorin Sorensen, 25:20; 9. Chase Laker, 26:06; 10. Emily Heale, 27:52 (2nd women’s); 11. Samuel Anders, 28:03; 12. Owen Buckbee, 28:25; 13. Sam McElroy, 28:26; 14. Daniel Anders, 29:25; 15. Sarah Hobart, 30:45 (3rd women’s); 16. Owen Miller, 30:56; 17. Julie Laker, 31:30; 18. Kristin Morrow, 31:59; 19. Amy Baxter, 32:00; 20. Kim Lofequist, 32:00; 21. Chisato Johnson, 32:00; 22. Michelle Thomason, 32:00; 23. Tyler Cooper, 32:00; 24. Heather Huff, 32:00; 25. Dana McDonald, 33:00.

26. Marty Fallon, 34:00; 27. Teresa Fallon, 34:00; 28. Haley Buckbee, 35:00; 29. Brittany Blossom, 35:00; 30. Donny Dormady, 36:00; 31. Mya Swan, 37:00; 32. Thaddeus Lingenfelter, 37:00; 33. Madison McDonald, 37:00; 34. Kelly Miller, 37:00; 35. Terri Cowart, 39:00; 36. Abi Miller, 39:00; 37. Rinna Carson, 40:00; 38. Anne Buckbee, 40:00; 39. Andrea Anderson, 43:00; 40. Meg Mueller, 43:00; 41. Madilyn Veihdeffer, 44:00; 42. Audrey McDonald, 44:00; 43. Robert Carson, 44:00; 44. Kelly Lawson, 46:00; 45. Karen Sloggins, 48:00; 46. Jamie Beever, 49:00; 47. Cadie Buckley, 49:00; 48. Karalyn Veihdeffer, 51:00; 49. Eli Butler, 55:00; 50. Selina Butler, 55:00.

51. Stan Kaneshiro, 60:00; 52. Grace Morrow, 60:00; 53. Rachelle Gruenberg, 60:00; 54. Lucia Carson, 60:00.

Ten-mile bike — 1. Eric Thomason, 37:36 (1st men’s); 2. Martin Renner, 37:51 (2nd men’s); 3. Nathan Kincaid, 39:15 (3rd men’s); 4. Tyle Owen, 39:21; 5. Kevin Canver, 43:16; 6. Rob Carson, 44:17; 7. Ezra Gorschaw, 48:31; 8. Megan Anderson, 48:41 (1st women’s); 9. Amy Angleberg, 48:56 (2nd women’s); 10. Will Morrow, 48:59; 11. Bob Toll, 49:29; 12. Jennifer Tabor, 50:01; 13. Carl Kincaid, 50:14; 14. John Taboz, 50:42; 15. Ashley Tonione, 50:49; 16. Jon Iannaccone, 51:06; 17. Heather Moon, 51:28; 18. Mark Beeson, 52:55; 19. Cody Czer-Ransom, 54:26; 20. Catriona Reynolds, 54:49; 21. Kelly Sederholm, 55:22; 22. Hollis Swan, 57:54; 23. Adam Tugan, 57:59; 24. Simone Owens, 58:07; 25. Anthony Murray, 58:10.

26. Joel Todd, 58:12; 27. Landen Showalter, 58:23; 28. James Showalter, 58:40; 29. Leslie Felts, 58:53; 30. Ashley Hovis, 58:59; 31. Kyle Kidder, 58:59; 32. Willy Dunne, 59:07; 33. Jen Showalter, 59:10; 34. Mary Simonsden, 1:00:52; 35. Morgan Aldridge, 1:00:54; 36. Emily Knight, 1:01:04; 37. Emily Knight, 1:01:04; 38. Jeff McDonald, 1:01:12; 39. Martha Story, 1:02; 40. Patrick Lovelace, 1:04:31; 41. Alison Schmukal, 1:04:51; 42. Bud Crawford, 1:05:29; 43. Theresa Halpon, 1:07:20; 44. Gail Moore, 1:11:16; 45. Tammy Farrell, 1:15:15; 46. Ethan Hogue, 1:15:19; 47. Doug Hogue, 1:15:27; 48. Samantha Schloesser, 1:17:09; 49. Frida Renner, 1:19:27; 50. Bruce Vadla, 1:20:21.

51. Carmen Stephl, 1:22:10; 52. Lukas Renner, 1:25:49; 53. Jo Watts, 1:27:34; 54. Craig Cusack, 1:28:42; 55. Edith Watts, 1:29:41; 56. Chris Stephl, 1:30:23; 57. Ken Heaps, 1:30:35; 58. Sean O’Reilly, 1:31:47; 59. Bobbie Behrens, 1:32:00; 60. Amy Bright, 1:35:33; 61. Jamie Highbee, 1:38:34; 62. Dave Swarthout, 1:38:42; 63. Olivia Kobylarz, 1:39:03; 64. Stephanie Kobylarz, 1:39:03; 65. Tom Kobylarz, 1:39:05; 66. Teagan Kobylarz, 1:39:05; 67. Pat Irwin, 2:00:00.

10-mile run — 1. Travis Mabe, 56:32 (1st men’s); 2. Matt Adams, 57:26 (2nd men’s); 3. Dan MacIntosh, 1:04:20 (3rd men’s); 4. Bill Keller, 1:10:56; 5. Levi Hohl, 1:11:13; 6. Bill Wood, 1:12:37; 7. Gabe Juliussen, 1:13:52; 8. Sean Goff, 1:16:04; 9. Scott Huff, 1:20:34; 10. Kent Peterson, 1:21:21; 11. Boomer Blossom, 1:21:27; 12. Bill Taylor, 1:21:47; 13. Derek Bynagle, 1:23:26; 14. Patrick Meger, 1:25:10; 15. Zac Buckle, 1:25:56; 16. Jason Buckle, 1:25:57; 17. Annie DeBois, 1:28:17 (1st woman’s); 18. Jordan Chilson, 1:29:05; 19. Alice Main, 1:33:01 (2nd woman’s); 20. Susan Borocliff, 1:34:02 (3rd woman’s); 21. Susan Craig, 1:36:33; 22. Rachel Butler, 1:38:25; 23. Erin Carpenter, 1:52:59; 24. John Newton, 1:59:35; 25. Ryan Peterson, 2:00:00; 26. Adam Anders, 2:00:00.

Runners and walkers take to the south Kenai beach for the three-mile event at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Runners and walkers take to the south Kenai beach for the three-mile event at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Travis Mabe climbs up the final hill from the beach to Cannery Loop Road on Monday, May 29, 2017, to win the men’s 10-mile run at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Travis Mabe climbs up the final hill from the beach to Cannery Loop Road on Monday, May 29, 2017, to win the men’s 10-mile run at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Morgan Aldridge and Mary Simondsen approach the end of the 10-mile bike ride at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by Jeff Helminak/Peninsula Clarion)

Morgan Aldridge and Mary Simondsen approach the end of the 10-mile bike ride at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 29, 2017. (Photo by Jeff Helminak/Peninsula Clarion)

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