Amanda Millay races to the finish line Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Amanda Millay races to the finish line Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Runners tackle Run for the River 5K, 10-miler

There are many reasons to lace up a pair of running shoes and take to the trails, but almost none carry the weight of racing for your mother.

Saturday morning at Soldotna Creek Park, Homer runner Danielle Meyers won the women’s 10-mile race at the Run for the River, doing so while her mother Amiel Severson battles for her life with an aggressive form of cancer.

“(Running) helps me,” Meyers said. “It’s kind of my spiritual thing … I have two boys and running helps me be a good mom and a good wife.”

Shortly after winning the women’s event in a time of 1 hour, 16 minutes, 6 seconds, Meyers said she would be headed to the hospital to visit with her mom, who she said was hit hard in recent months with her illness, which was diagnosed several years prior. Meyers, 32, lives in Homer but grew up in Soldotna, where much of her family still lives.

Meyers was one of four winners among 235 total racers Saturday morning at the event, which is part of the three-day Kenai River Festival. The 10-mile men’s race was won by Will Steffe, while the 5-kilometer wins went to Spencer Townsend for the men and Riley Burroughs for the ladies.

Another reason Meyers said she runs is to help keep her away from her past demons. The Soldotna High School graduate got sober almost three years ago after living “wild in my 20’s”, and said she had never won a running race in her life before Saturday.

“It gives me my pride back,” Meyers said. “Running gives me something to be proud of and to work hard towards, clear my mind and digest life.”

While the race win meant something special to Meyers, it nearly went off the tracks before it began. Meyers said she drove up from Homer Saturday morning before realizing she left her race gear at home, including her top singlet.

Luckily, she was saved by her sister Donica Nash, who supplied her with a racing outfit to run in. Once she got to the start line and was able to wolf down a banana, things went much smoother the rest of the way. Meyers beat women’s runner-up Kristie Cotroneo to the finish line by more than three minutes.

“When you start off on the wrong foot, it’s like, ‘Ok, let’s try to make the most of it’,” Meyers said. “I’m not wearing my lucky race gear.”

Meyers said she is training for several marathons, starting with the Mayor’s Marathon in Anchorage near the end of the month, and is trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which has a 3 hours, 30-minute, qualifying time. Meyers said her current personal best is 3:57.

“The guys were my competition,” she said.

In the men’s 10-miler, Steffe had no trouble dusting the competition, beating second-place Sean Goff to the finish by almost five minutes with a winning time of 1:07:26.

The victory was the second race win for Steffe in 12 days, following up a victory at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on the Kenai beach May 27. As an intern working for Marathon Petroleum this summer, Steffe, 22, said he is spending some of his free time entering in local races.

“They had a bike (lead sweeper) that I was trying to catch,” Steffe said. “No moose but we saw ton of turkeys.”

The Montana State student said the race was held in ideal conditions for a speedy performance.

“This is like the perfect day for a run,” Steffe said. “Faster than the beach. The beach was hard to run on.”

Due to a mistaken shortcut by the lead runner, the 5K race was actually shortened to around a distance of 4.7 kilometers, just shy of the full distance.

The 5K women’s race was won by 2015 Wasilla High grad and current University of Alaska Anchorage runner Riley Burroughs, who aced the field in a time of 18:08, beating runner-up Mallory Millay by 3:40.

Burroughs holds a career best time of 17:50 in the five-kilometer distance, which she said was done on a track. With offseason training in full effect, the nursing and psychology major said she was expecting a fast time Saturday.

Plus, as a cousin of Allie Ostrander, the race victory came naturally for Burroughs.

“I usually race it on the track,” Burroughs said. “It helps me to stay in the summer races. Summer races are good to help me stay fit. I have a season coming up I have to train for.”

In the 5K men’s race, Townsend won in a sizzling time of 17:08, beating runner-up Tucker Mueller by 43 seconds. Townsend is visiting for the summer from Detroit, Michigan, as a firefighter, brought in by the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to help fight wildfires.

Townsend, 29, said the fast and flat course made for a speedy run. His personal best 5K entering the weekend was 17:26.

“That’s the best 5K I’ve ever done,” Townsend said. “It was pretty awesome to have a lead bike as well. Usually it’s a motorcycle or something, and I’m breathing in fumes.”

Run for the River

Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park

5K results

Men — 1. Spencer Townsend, 17:08; 2. Tucker Mueller, 17:51; 3. Mitchell Andrew, 18:51; 4. Fran Camen, 19:10; 5. Sean Babitt, 19:50; 6. Wyatt Dement, 19:50; 7. Jake Streich, 20:13; 8. Ben Boersma, 20:46; 9. Evan Lotz, 20:48; 10. Kent Peterson, 21:27; 11. Kadyn Brown, 21:32; 12. Luke Morse, 21:37; 13. Zach Armstrong, 21:59; 14. Quinn Brown, 22:25; 15. Kiel Brown, 22:41; 16. Tom Seggerman, 23:15; 17. Bill Larned, 23:20; 18. Craig Babitt, 23:33; 19. Brody Linton, 24:36; 20. Bryan Kirby, 24:37; 21. Aiden Culver, 24:41; 22. Corbin Ebenezer, 24:45; 23. Kenji Alejandre, 24:52; 24. Travis Alatalo, 24:59; 25. Tony Bass, 25:10; 26. Morris Linett, 25:17; 27. Joshua Lewis, 25:19; 28. Matt Brown, 25:19; 29. Wade VonHeeder, 25:36; 30. Dylan Hogue, 25:44; 31. Jim Krein, 25:47; 32. Scott Young, 25:50; 33. Asher Farmer, 25:54; 34. Roy Stonecipher, 25:58; 35. Mike Farmer, 26:17; 36. Brenden Farmer, 26:17; 37. Pete Maruo, 26:44; 38. Gregory Endsley, 27:01; 39. Brian Endsley, 27:02; 40. Rich Breuing, 27:12; 41. Hugh Garske, 27:20; 42. Pete Sprague, 27:22; 43. Kenneth Octuk, 27:31; 44. Tom Rhyner, 28:24; 45. Bill Radtke, 28:34; 46. John Pothast, 28:44; 47. Jeff Smith, 29:14; 48. Jaxson Ebenezer, 29:58; 49. Kristopher Wagoner, 30:00; 50. Jake Edmunds, 30:03; 51. Scott Anderson, 30:09; 52. Jordan Reif, 31:39; 53. Christian Edmunds, 34:15; 54. Sullivan Bundy, 34:34; 55. Jareth Wilmoth, 35:01; 56. Herb Mann, 37:22; 57. Jacob Moline, 37:45; 58. Stuart Lytton, 37:46; 59. Colton Herzog, 38:27; 60. Milo Martin, 43:35; 61. Declan Culver, 44:25; 62. Robert McAlpine, 44:48; 63. Jason Helton, 45:05; 64. Jakob Dempster, 45:43; 65. Greg Matturro, 46:04; 66. Justin Martin, 47:16; 67. Keith Hamilton, 47:49; 68. Vincent Palancia, 48:08; 69. Matthew Dura, 49:39.

Women — 1. Riley Burroughs, 18:18; 2. Mallory Millay, 21:58; 3. Megan Anderson, 22:16; 4. Kaidence Shaeffer, 22:47; 5. Karalyn Veihdeffer, 23:36; 6. Nettie Keller, 24:40; 7. Amanda Millay, 24:45; 8. Maddy Campbell, 24:56; 9. Melissa Linton, 24:56; 10. Breanna Alatalo, 24:59; 11. Carson Dement, 25:23; 12. Sarah Hobart, 25:24; 13. Rachel Babitt, 25:51; 14. Joy Hobart, 26:02; 15. Jesse Hughes, 26:04; 16. Rheanna Daily, 26:20; 17. Taylor Sheldon, 26:44; 18. Sara Alejandre, 26:51; 19. Leah Streich, 27:08; 20. Danielle Seramur, 27:13; 21. Heather Huff, 27:17; 22. Brie Dement, 27:30; 23. Fiona Follett, 27:32; 24. Paige Parker, 27:47; 25. Donna Edmunds, 27:52; 26. Maggie Nelson, 27:54; 27. Mollie Pate, 27:55; 28. Natalia Taeschner, 28:23; 29. Larissa Arbelovsky, 28:25; 30. Dallas Voss, 28:40; 31. Sheilah-Margeret Pothast, 28:43; 32. Emily Knight, 28:47; 33. Hadley Kornelis, 28:54; 34. Tessa Luecker, 29:06; 35. Kristi Bradford, 29:11; 36. Tasha Reynolds, 29:11; 37. Dana McDonald, 29:24; 38. Madison McDonald, 29:51; 39. Payton Rusk, 29:54; 40. Katherine Ebenezer, 29:58; 41. Sonya Wagoner, 30:09; 42. Katelyn Jacobson, 30:33; 43. Kyaran Matturro, 30:43; 44. Terri Cowart, 30:59; 45. Christine Morin, 31:15; 46. Kelli Stroh, 31:22; 47. Sara Baersma, 31:23; 48. Nicole Sheldon, 31:28; 49. Haley Earl, 31:38; 50. Darci Drury, 32:29; 51. Julie English, 32:29; 52. Brittany Gilman, 32:40; 53. Mayzie Potton, 32:40; 54. Megan Hamilton, 32:40; 55. Tina Hensley, 32:52; 56. Maria Sweppy, 33:18; 57. Maddy Gauthier, 33:38; 58. Rosemary Dura, 34:16; 59. Mary Chapman, 34:27; 60. Sharon Radtke, 34:29; 61. Sawyer Link, 34:30; 62. Sage Link, 34:30; 63. Deborah Ransburg, 34:30; 64. Piper Bundy, 34:32; 65. Sara Bundy, 34:33; 66. Rebekah Wilmoth, 35:00; 67. Deborah Wilmoth, 35:01; 68. Meg Mueller, 35:25; 69. Becky Hart, 35:57; 70. Kylie Brown, 36:05; 71. Josie Lloyd, 36:10; 72. April Erhardt, 36:10; 73. Jessica Lloyd, 36:10; 74. Nancy Lafferty, 36:30; 75. Katie Evans, 37:37; 76. Kristen Russell, 37:37; 77. Bristol Walton, 37:37; 78. Marietta Kornelis, 38:14; 79. Mary Rhyner, 38:14; 80. Michelle Thomason, 38:18; 81. April Kaufman, 38:22; 82. Kathy Hobart, 39:37; 83. Laura Timko, 39:41; 84. Eileen Bryson, 39:48; 85. Chris Richardson, 39:50; 86. Mary Bodnar, 40:30; 87. Yvonne Oren, 40:45; 88. Melissa LaPlante, 41:28; 89. Doris Palancia, 41:58; 90. Nivia Martin, 43:35; 91. Denali Tucker, 43:52; 92. Kandi Barcus, 43:54; 93. Cathy McAlpine, 43:58; 94. Sara Dennis, 44:46; 95. Jennifer Tollackson, 44:46; 96. Rachel Gilliland, 45:04; 97. Hailey Stonecipher, 45:20; 98. Erica Dempster, 45:42; 99. Cassandra Winslow, 45:44; 100. Lisa Parker, 45:44; 101. Penny Furnish, 45:59; 102. Susan Larned, 46:02; 103. Paula Standefer, 46:02; 104. Mary Starrs-Armstrong, 46:04; 105. Louise Martin, 46:05; 106. Sharon Isaak, 46:22; 107. Betty Gilcrist, 47:16; 108. Bella Martin, 47:17; 109. Rosemarie Waters, 47:17; 110. Sue Mann, 47:28; 111. Margaret Gilman, 47:29; 112. Debra Hamilton, 47:31; 113. Connie Wheat, 47:49; 114. Irma Peterson, 47:51; 115. Susan Ellis, 47:38; 116. Taylor Stonecipher, 48:53; 117. Hailee Williams, 49:04; 118. Annabeth Dura, 49:39; 119. Marianne Dailey, 49:41; 120. Gayle Koger, 49:41; 121. Trena Richardson, 50:18; 122. Jacqueline Smith, 52:10; 123. Pamela Culver, 52:10; 124. Nancy Courtright, 52:28; 125. Connie Goltz, 52:29; 126. Jodi Dura, 53:28; 127. Lindsey May, 54:53; 128. Amy Hogue, 54:53; 129. Elizabeth Cristiano, 59:03; 130. Syerenna Van Bruggen, 59:04; 131. Lissa Lloyd, 59:04; 132. Marilyn Pamplin, 59:05; 133. Yvonne Rhodes, 1:00:44; 134. Sarah Hart, 1:00:47; 135. Karen Scroggins, 1:23:02.

10 mile results

Men — 1. Will Steffe, 1:07:26; 2. Sean Goff, 1:12:20; 3. Steve Harrison, 1:12:53; 4. Alex Young, 1:13:11; 5. Chad Flanders, 1:14:40; 6. Lee Frey, 1:14:53; 7. Jordan Klepser, 1:23:11; 8. Carl Kincaid, 1:25:41; 9. Roy Stuckey, 1:30:40; 10. Sean Liebers, 1:31:58; 11. Bryson Ecker, 1:36:11; 12. Mason Ecker, 1:36:11; 13. Randal Ecker, 1:36:11; 14. Robert Gray, 1:38:14; 15. Daniel Strigle, 1:51:20.

Women — 1. Danielle Meyers, 1:16:06; 2. Kristie Cotroneo, 1:19:24; 3. Sondra Stonecipher, 1:23:21; 4. Jodi Hanson, 1:26:42; 5. Shelby Wagoner, 1:31:19; 6. Susan Craig, 1:33:34; 7. Jessica Ecker, 1:36:11; 8. Amy Baxter, 1:37:08; 9. Chisato Johnson, 1:37:33; 10. June Stuckey, 1:40:36; 11. Tara Schmidt, 1:41:01; 12. Rachel Walden, 1:43:51; 13. Melissa Tafoya, 1:44:27; 14. Cecilia Borries-Strigle, 1:51:28; 15. Renee Desiderio, 1:53:06; 16. Nichole Teeter, 1:53:07.

A group of runners make their way across a bridge early Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

A group of runners make their way across a bridge early Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Men’s 10-mile winner Will Steffe approaches the finish line Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Men’s 10-mile winner Will Steffe approaches the finish line Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

A young runner makes her way down the trail Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

A young runner makes her way down the trail Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Women’s 5K winner Riley Burroughs races over a bridge early Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Women’s 5K winner Riley Burroughs races over a bridge early Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Eventual men’s 5K winner Spencer Townsend leads the field early over a bridge Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Eventual men’s 5K winner Spencer Townsend leads the field early over a bridge Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Run for the River 5-kilometer/10-mile races in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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