Soldotna’s Derek Black and Daniel Warner approach the finish line Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Derek Black and Daniel Warner approach the finish line Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Runners tackle sloppy conditions at Turkey Trot

Slushy pathways and icy roads couldn’t dampen the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday for the 91 runners that turned out for the annual Turkey Trot in Soldotna.

Soldotna’s Jason Parks emerged as the winner of the 3-mile race and was joined by women’s winner Jordan Strausbaugh, also of Soldotna. Parks covered the three miles in a speedy 15 minutes, 30 seconds, beating runner-up Caleb Shaw by 4:23. Strausbaugh finished fourth overall in a time of 20:25, finishing comfortable ahead of women’s runner-up Ronna Martin of Kenai by 3:40.

“I almost didn’t show up,” Shaw said. “I was laying in bed this morning and looked outside and thought, ‘I am not going’, but then, ‘You know what? I can get my butt out of bed and work for that turkey this afternoon’.”

The race took runners down the Unity Trail bike path, starting from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex and turning around at halfway for the return trip. The turnaround for the 3-mile race nearly reached Gas Well Road.

The Turkey Trot funds benefited Freedom House for a third year in a row, an organization that operates faith-based recovery homes in Soldotna. The facility opened in May 2017 with a women’s recovery home and later opened a men’s residence as well.

The sloppy conditions may have contributed to the drop in race attendance, as the 91 runners Thursday was down from the 154 racers that showed up last year to clear skies, but the attitudes didn’t show it.

Soldotna’s Shamicka Johnson won the women’s 1.5-miler. Johnson lives at Freedom House and said the weather wasn’t enough to deter her from showing up.

“My hands are cold. And my feet,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to run today, but I decided I’d try.”

Johnson was a fast high school runner where she attended school in Delaware and Vermont, but Thursday was the first time in nearly a year that Johnson had donned a pair of running shoes for a race, due to the recent birth of her son.

Johnson said the long absence from running kept her expecations low, so she was somewhat surprised to catch a glimpse of the top men’s racers in front of her.

“I didn’t think I’d (catch) them,” she said.

Daniel Warner, 9, led the 1.5-mile field to the finish, beating Soldotna’s Derek Black and third-place finisher and father John Warner. Daniel won in a time of 13:30, while Black finished six second behind and the elder Warner was 16 seconds back.

Black works as a staff member for Freedom House, and said he didn’t register for the event until 10 minutes before the start after residents of the

“I came out to support our residents who were living at the houses, and they talked me into running it,” Black said. “Just jumped in there and did it.”

Black said the bike path was cleared out well, leading to a better race experience than he was expecting.

“I didn’t see anyone fall at all,” he said.

Jason Parks continued his torrid 2019 pace with a sizzling run in the rain, running away from the field. In finishing second, Shaw said he was simply concerned with running the best time he could in the slick conditions.

“I was hoping to cut my time a little bit, but it was hard to do because it was so slick out.” Shaw said. “The biggest challenge was the ice.”

Parks got out to an early lead, Shaw said, and easily scampered away from the field. While Parks donned race shoes, spandex and a singlet, Shaw raced in street clothes, which were sopping wet by the time he reached the finish.

“It was really slick, really slushy,” Shaw said. “Obviously I got soaked, but overall a good race, a good run. It was really cool.”

Jordan Strausbaugh is a runner on the Soldotna High School cross-country team, but is currently training with the nordic ski program. Since the lack of snow has left athletes unable to train on skis, Strausbaugh said Thursday’s run was a good way to keep her competitive edge, even with the challenging conditions.

“It was so slippery, and I really wish I brought cleats,” Strausbaugh said. “The whole time, I was slipping with every step.”

2019 Turkey Trot

Thursday in Soldotna

1.5-mile race

1. Daniel Warner 13:30, 2. Derek Black 13:36, 3. John Warner 13:46, 4. Shamika Johnson 13:58, 5. Olivia Kobylarz 15:12, 6. Stacey Tronnier 15:43, 7. Ryan Martin 15:43, 8. Teagan Kobylarz 17:27, 9. Stephanie Kobylarz 17:54, 10. Riley Lorring 20:44,11. Wyatt Lorring 20:44, 12. Mindy Lorring 20:56, 13. Sarah Martin, 23:43, 14. Tyler Carter 23:43, 15. Greg Russell 23:43, 16. Dennis Linnel 23:52, 17. Denise Linnel 24:13, 18. Mindy Halverson 25:25, 19. James Johnson 25:25, 20. Sonora Martin 25:25, 21. Toli Boutwell 27:25, 22. Teslan Boutwell 27:25, 23. Anya Boutwell 27:33, 24. Jeremy Boutwell 27:33, 25. Raleagh West 28:39, 26 Willow Graham 28:53, 27. Willow West 29:12, 28. Candice West 29:12.

3-mile race

1. Jason Parks 15:30, 2. Caleb Shaw 19:53, 3. Josiah Martin 20:24, 4. Jordan Strausbaugh 20:25, 5. Bill Wood 21:12, 6. Tim Nisley 21:47, 7. Jacob Strausbaugh 22:15, 8. Carl Kincaid 22:54, 9. Tom Koyblarz 23:07, 10. Zack Wells 23:27, 11. James Shaw 24:00, 12. Javin Eicher 24:00, 13. Ronna Martin 24:05, 14. Mark Fondren 24:18, 15. Kandi Barcus 24:18, 16. David Lorring 24:30, 17. Stephanie Wright 24:48, 18. Trent Waller 25:04, 19. Weston Warner 25:05, 20. Nataleigh Shane 25:12, 21. Shane Snader 25:28, 22. Ian Warner 25:30, 23. Mitchel Halverson 25:26, 24. Mike Sandback 26:08, 25. Hans Schlegel 26:35, 26. Benjamin Schlegel26:35, 27. Sarah Shaw 27:57, 28.Desiree Snader 28:17, 29. Clayton Dempster 28:29, 30. Makayla Weaver 28:43, 31. Brody Wenger 28:46, 32. Brayden Hostetler 28:53, 33. Brett Hostetter 29:15, 34. Sheila Pothast 29:24, 35. John Pothast 29:24, 36. Mercianna Shaw 29:42, 37. Taleasha Shane 30:05, 38. Zoey Weaver 30:13, 39. Hope Troyer 30:28, 40. Joy Troyer 31:26, 41. Marly Perschbacher 31:30, 42. Jeff Perschbacher 31:30, 43. Jessica Lloyd 33:37, 44. April Ehrhardt 33:37, 45. Jaron Pribbenow 34:40, 46. Robin Tugan 34:40, 47. Andrea Hostetler 35:02, 48. Kelly Baber 35:57, 49. Gina Kurtz 36:42, 50. Marlene Snader 36:42, 51. Sarah Pribbenow 38:13, 52. India Pribbenow 38:14, 53. Quentin Pribbenow 38:14, 53. Brett Hostetler 41:59, 54. Valerie McKenney 46:28, 55. Ted McKenney 46:28, 56. Grant Hostetler 47:08, 57. Dawn Navarro 48:10, 58. Becky Wick 48:10, 59. Missy Dunning 49:33, 60. Connie Ferguson 49:33, 61. Chris Donk 49:33, 62. Kierra Hostetler 58:10, 63. Marvin Hostetler 58:10.

A youth runner splashes through a puddle early on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

A youth runner splashes through a puddle early on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Two runners race together early Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Two runners race together early Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Two runners race together early Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Race leader Jason Parks gets off to a fast start Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Race leader Jason Parks gets off to a fast start Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Runners stream down the Unity Trail early Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Runners stream down the Unity Trail early Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

The field of runners take off Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

The field of runners take off Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

The field of runners take off Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

The field of runners take off Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at the Turkey Trot in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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