Kristin Davis takes first place in the women’s 10-mile run at the Run for the River on Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kristin Davis takes first place in the women’s 10-mile run at the Run for the River on Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Run for the River sees all 1st-time winners

The Run for the River saw all first-time winners Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park.

Jordan Strausbaugh and Caleb Smith won the 5-kilometer race, while Kristin Davis and Jason Parks won the 10-mile race.

The race is part of the Kenai River Festival, put on by the Kenai Watershed Forum. Rhonda McCormick, Run for the River coordinator, said the festival is a fun, educational event that celebrates the Kenai River.

McCormick, who thanked 35 volunteers for coming out and helping with the event, said the run has gotten as many as 369 runners, but this year saw 161 finishers. In 2019, the year before the race went all virtual due to the pandemic, there were 235 racers.

“I added about 50 more runners this year, than last year,” McCormick said. “So that’s progress.”

One of those new runners is Strausbaugh, a recent graduate of Soldotna High School who won at 20 minutes, 6 seconds. She said she tries to do as many community runs as possible, but never had done the Run for the River. She did so when fellow 2022 graduate Jordan Ruffner suggested it.

Strausbaugh is headed to the University of Alaska Anchorage to run cross-country and track.

“My coach said I have to take a two-week break,” Strausbaugh said of UAA coach Chas Davis. “But it hasn’t been two weeks. It’s been one week. So I was like, I’ll just do the 5K. I did want to do the 10-mile, but I knew that wouldn’t be a smart idea.”

Smith just moved up here in September. He finished at 18:20.

“This was the first community race I heard about,” he said. “I definitely wanted to try it and see what I could do. I ran in college and just love running.”

He originally wanted to break 18 minutes in the race. Despite a push from some solid runners behind him, it didn’t happen.

“Instead of running, I started mountain biking three weeks out,” he said. “When I should have been running, I was out doing mountain biking, which just doesn’t train you nearly as well for this stuff.”

Davis and her family did the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on May 30.

“They really enjoyed it,” Davis said. “And they had the flyer for this, so I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s just do this.’”

For Davis, the event fits in with a goal of trying to get top five in her age group at the Lost Lake Run on Aug. 27 in Seward. The run is about 15.75 miles and has a peak elevation of 2,100 feet.

During the race, Davis said she was motivated by runner-up Kristie Cotroneo and Tyler Hippchen. Davis finished at 1:17:16, while Cotroneo was right behind at 1:24:21.

Hippchen, who finished at 1:12:40, is a recent graduate of Kenai Central. Davis had him as a student and as an athlete on the Kenai Central cross-country and cross-country skiing teams.

Parks was just getting back into racing after finishing fourth in the Eugene Marathon on May 1 in Oregon. He finished the 26.2-mile run in 2:23.47 for a new personal record in the event.

Saturday, he ran 57:20.

“I came back a little too soon in terms of training and running, and so I had some Achilles problems probably about a week and a half, two weeks after the marathon,” Parks said. “So I’ve just been really, really taking it easy.

“This is kind of my first time getting out, kind of stretching the legs and seeing how they feel. And they felt great today.”

Parks said his pie in the sky goal is qualifying for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2024, which would take 2:18:00. He is already signed up for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9. He finished that event in 2:27:13 in 2021.

“I think I’ll just keep taking off a minute here and a minute there and kind of see what I can do,” Parks said of his marathon time.

Run for the River

Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park

10-mile run

Men: 1. Jason Parks, 57 minutes, 20 seconds; 2. Pedro Ochoa, 1:01:14; 3. Mark Blanning, 1:07:13; 4. Tyler Hippchen, 1:12:40; 5. Landon Fillmore, 1:13:33; 6. Don Connelly, 1:17:58; 7. Jon Leatherwood, 1:24:45; 8. Ethan Bowser, 1:27:23; 9. Matt Bowser, 1:27:59; 10. Nathan Nelson, 1:31:55; 11. Ryan Peterson, 1:32:14; 12. Robert Hays, 1:32:40; 13. Gunnar Romatz, 1:33:31; 14. Jeffery Weeks, 1:41:15; 15. Wade VonHeeder, 1:41:25; 16. Roy Stuckey, 1:42:29.

Women: 1. Kristin Davis, 1:17:16; 2. Kristie Cotroneo, 1:24:21; 3. Eunice Foss, 1:31:29; 4. Carey Quiring, 1:33:13; 5. Michaela Delaney, 1:43:33; 6. Cassidy Riley, 1:44:01; 7. Elizabeth Cox, 1:45:10; 8. Maggie Nelson, 1:45:11; 9. Kathy Trinh, 1:47:04; 10. Sarah Pribbenow, 1:48:31; 11. Antonya Hall, 1:48:31; 12. Lindsay Hallam, 1:48:31; 13. Nicole Hall, 1:49:09; 14. Taylor Ewing, 1:49:09; 15. Kate Tutela, 1:49:54; 16. Tamara Hibberd, 1:50:44; 17. June Stuckey, 1:51:23; 18. Juley Kalugin, 1:54:12.

5-kilometer run

Men: 1. Caleb Smith, 18:20; 2. Jacob Strausbaugh, 18:40; 3. Karl Danielson, 18:45; 4. Mitchell Andrew, 18:53; 5. Ken Youngberg, 20:06; 6. Samuel Roberts, 21:55; 7. Nicholas Gosselin, 22:43; 8. Kyle Martin, 22:49; 9. Dale Eicher, 24:19; 10. Ryan Kapp, 26:52; 11. Tom Seggerman, 27:21; 12. Greg Hough, 27:28; 13. Harris Anderson, 28:11; 14. Todd Brickley, 28:58; 15. Jordan Chilson, 28:59; 16. Patrick O’Connell, 29:11; 17. James Pounty, 30:56; 18. Tom Rhyner, 31:00; 19. Jeff Perschbacher, 33:42; 20. Ike Davis, 34:57; 21. Jeff Smith, 35:44; 22. John Swartz, 36:06; 23. Josh Lewis, 39:03; 24. Rich Bond, 39:15; 25. Eli Anderson, 39:30.

26. Eric Ashman, 41:31; 27. Isaak Browning, 43:49; 28. Joseph Browning, 43:52; 29. Brian Marang, 45:18; 30. John Chapman, 46:52; 31. Jarrick Jensen, 49:18; 32. Leonard Parks, 50:47; 33. Vincent Palancia, 51:30; 34. Rustin Hitchcock, 51:45; 35. Douglas Yates, 51:51; 36. JoVonna Schlosser, 52:14; 37. Bob Schlosser, 52:14; 38. Jason Craig, 52:45; 39. Grant Bob, 56:36.

Women: 1. Jordan Strausbaugh, 20:06; 2. Becca Hitchcock, 23:28; 3. Jordan Ruffner, 23:33; 4. Sierra Smith, 23:45; 5. Sara Boersma, 24:09; 6. Nicole Shelden, 24:09; 7. Ruby Davis, 24:29; 8. Rebecca Slone, 24:36; 9. Sara Larsen, 24:39; 10. Ashlea Riley, 24:52; 11. Louisa Brackett, 25:02; 12. Sue Seggerman, 26:06; 13. Molly Copple, 26:34; 14. Erica Cowart, 26:47; 15. Sarah Hobart, 26:50; 16. Jessi Conoyer, 27:03; 17. Maggie Barlow, 27:06; 18. Susie Strausbaugh, 27:09; 19. Teri Barton, 27:38; 20. Denise Titus, 28:07; 21. Elizabeth Chilson, 28:33; 22. Brie Warner, 28:40; 23. Alexis Fillmore, 28:51; 24. Kaitlyn Morse, 28:52; 25. Kristi Louthan, 28:52.

26. Kali Brickley, 28:58; 27. Joy Hobart, 29:11; 28. Terri Lemons, 30:26; 29. Sara Behuniak, 30:55; 30. Jane Eveland, 31:06; 31. Chandler Spoon, 31:45; 32. Zettie Spoon, 31:48; 33. Mary Parmentier, 32:28; 34. Apphia Bowser, 32:46; 35. Kim Bowser, 32:58; 36. Donna Edmunds, 33:00; 37. Sydney Jenkins, 33:10; 38. Yvonne Leutwyler, 33:42; 39. Laura Karchere, 34:27; 40. Julie Craig, 34:37; 41. Debbie Ford, 34:43; 42. Beth Swaby, 34:58; 43. Jamie Davis, 35:01; 44. Melanie Hollon, 35:01; 45. Ryan Burris, 35:21; 46. Erica Nichols, 35:42; 47. Rachel Chaffee, 36:43; 48. Naomi Barker, 36:48; 49. Christine Morin, 37:20; 50. Gina Smith, 37:47.

51. Britt Todd, 38:42; 52. Bre Scott, 38:42; 53. Taryn Lewis, 38:55; 54. Yoshie Yamaoka, 38:56; 55. Mary Chapman, 38:56; 56. Lisa Chambers, 40:05; 57. Nina Anderson, 40:18; 58. Terri Cowart, 41:02; 59. Denise Ashman, 41:11; 60. Sawyer Link, 41:38; 61. Sage Link, 41:38; 62. Michelle Federle, 41:44; 63. Mary Kay Swartz, 41:58; 64. Diana Grant, 42:41; 65. Kathy Hobart, 43:07; 66. Alice Marang, 45:15; 67. Doris Palancia, 46:12; 68. Robin Whiteside, 48:13; 69. Jenna Brown, 49:18; 70. Lucy Brown, 49:19; 71. Yvonne Oren, 49:32; 72. Holly Lewis, 49:59; 73. Valerie Weathers, 49:59; 74. Melissa LaPlante, 50:08; 75. Hannah Parks, 50:47.

76. Nikki Ross, 50:48; 77. Lilly Ross, 50:49; 78. Talya Hitchcock, 51:37; 79. Elaine Woodburn, 51:53; 80. Sarah Douthit, 52:45; 81. Alexis Fillmore, 54:47; 82. Dannette Petersen, 58:28; 83. Sara Moore, 58:51; 84. Linda Loranger, 58:53; 85. Kimberly Macdonald, 59:16; 86. Nancy Courtright, 59:57; 87. Penny Furnish, 59:59; 88. Deborah Owens, 1:02:45.

Caleb Smith runs to victory in the men’s 5-kilometer race Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Run for the River in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Caleb Smith runs to victory in the men’s 5-kilometer race Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Run for the River in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jordan Strausbaugh, trailed by Ken Youngberg, runs to victory in the women’s 5-kilometer race Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Run for the River in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jordan Strausbaugh, trailed by Ken Youngberg, runs to victory in the women’s 5-kilometer race Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Run for the River in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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