Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Rex Shields finishes the Unity Run in first place with a time of about 15:35 Saturday July 12, 2014 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Rex Shields finishes the Unity Run in first place with a time of about 15:35 Saturday July 12, 2014 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Shields gives Theisens a stiff challenge

It seems the Theisen brothers of Kenai have found some new competition on the road.

Saturday’s 11th annual Soldotna Rotary Unity Run that ended at Soldotna High School saw Rex Shields take the victory in the five-kilometer race with a time of 15 minutes, 33.3 seconds, only about 100 yards ahead of second- and third-place finishers Jordan and Jonah Theisen, who will both be seniors this fall at Kenai Central High School.

With the high school cross-country and track offseason leaving the Theisens’ training in a slight lull, Shields was able to take his second win of the summer, following his victory in the Run for the River 10-miler in early June.

“It was fun running with those two guys,” Shields said. “I ran with them for about the first two miles, and then I just took off for the last mile.”

Shields, a 25-year-old former track athlete at Brigham Young University who was born in Alaska, said his personal best in the 5,000 meters is 14:01, so Saturday’s jaunt along the steady Unity Trail was easy work.

But with the Theisens in the field, no race is easy work. Jordan ran a time of 15:49.6, and said he and Jonah — who was clocked at 16:19.8 — have been putting in an average of three running days a week, but have also been mixing in other activities such as biking to build a cross-training core.

“I’m hoping to not burn out like other high school runners do in the fall,” Jordan said.

Shields had to settle for half of the accolades. His wife, Ashley, came away with the victory in the women’s 5K, finishing ahead of runner-up Olivia Hutchings with a time of 18:18.1. Hutchings crossed 52 seconds behind Shields.

Ashley, 22, also ran competitively in college for Utah State, and said she focused on staying with the SoHi trio of Hutchings, Dani McCormick and Sadie Fox.

“In the beginning three girls took off, so I tried to stick with them for a while,” Shields said. “Then they strung out and I slowly started passing them, and I took the lead after the first mile.”

Shields said her personal best for a 5K is 17:22, although she noted that was on the track, where times tend to be quicker.

The couple from Springville, Utah, and said they plan on running the Salmon Running Series that began Wednesday evening.

In the 10-mile event, Soldotna Rotary member Mark Dixson outlasted runner-up Jesse Kincaid to win the men’s race with a time of 1:14:48, beating Kincaid by 22 seconds. Dixson said it marked his first ever victory in a road race.

“Every time I turned around he was right behind me,” Dixson said. “Usually all the studs are here, like James Tangaro, Mark Blanning, those guys … but he pushed me hard today.”

Kincaid, a Soldotna radiologist, said he ran so fast his family missed him finishing.

“I guessed the time I was gonna finish, but this guy (Dixson) made me run so fast that I beat my family to the finish,” Kincaid said.

Susan Craig was the only runner to repeat her 2013 performance Saturday, winning the women’s 10-miler with a time of 1:18:19, her second year in a row as the top female. Craig said she missed having a larger pack of runners to give her a mental boost.

“Running’s a mind game, and when you don’t have people around you pushing you, it’s a little bit harder,” Craig said. “Last year, I was about 20 meters ahead of this big group of people until Pickle Hill, and I felt like I was having people pushing me. This year it was just Dr. Kincaid behind me until Pickle Hill, and then he flew around me.”

Craig said she is preparing for her first ultramarathon, the 49-kilometer Big Wild Life run August 17 in Anchorage. It will be her longest-ever distance raced.

“That one will be big,” she said. “This one is just a hometown local race. Can’t miss it.”

Afterward, Craig was one of many runners to enjoy the barbecue provided in the parking lot, and took it in with her husband, Mark, and daughters Emma and Katie.

Saturday Rotary Unity Run


10-mile — 1. Mark Dixson, 1:14:48; 2. Jesse Kincaid, 1:15:10; 3. Derek Morgan, 1:19:04; 4. Jay Hanson, 1:21:13; 5. Kevin Lauver, 1:24:13; 6. Roy Stuckey, 1:36:13.

5K — 1. Rex Shields, 15:33.3; 2. Jordan Theisen, 15:49.6; 3. Jonah Theisen, 16:19.8; 4. Carl Kincaid, 20:05.0; 5. Ryan Nelson, 21:17.3; 6. Eric Marking, 21:23.7; 7. Robert Sparks, 21:32.7; 8. Noah Perry, 21:43.7; 9. Joel Isaak, 21:53.0; 10. Jode Sparks, 23:32.1; 11. Doug Hogue, 24:13.1; 12. John Roderick, 24:43.1; 13. Jim Krein, 24:59.4; 14. Mitch Michaud, 27:39.5; 15. Jake Sanders, 27:52.1; 16. Dylan Hogue, 28:34.2; 17. John Kruger, 28:40.8; 18. Tucker Mueller, 29:22.8; 19. Christene Moun, 31:10.1; 20. George Stein, 31:17.6; 21. Kurt Haider, 31:20.1; 22. Michael Lewis, 31:45.1; 23. Hollie Ryder, 31:47.2; 24. Jordan Ruffner, 32:30.6; 25. Marcus Mueller, 33:51.5; 26. David Norcross, 35:45.6; 27. Cole Norcross, 35:48.7; 28. Dale Kruger, 40:11.8; 29. Ethan Hogue, 41:37.6; 30. Samuel Anders, 42:26.4; 31. Daniel Anders, 42:44.9; 32. Mark Craig, 56:08.6.


10-mile — 1. Susan Craig, 1:18:19; 2. Jodi Hanson, 1:31:28; 3. Kelly Murray, 1:33:10; 4. Rachel Erickson, 1:34:36; 5. Jen Showalter, 1:36:29; 6. Elizabeth Bella, 1:37:48; 7. Jane Herron, 1:38:12; 8. Julie Harvey, 1:40:07; 9. Dana McDonald, 1:40:54; 10. Kimberly Tornow, 1:41:09; 11. Sarah Callaway, 1:42:30; 12. Maria Sweppy, 2:02:28; 13. Johna Beech, 2:27:51; 14. Kathy Hammer, 2:27:54; 15. Kelly Hicks, 2:27:55.

5K — 1. Ashley Shields, 18:18.1; 2. Olivia Hutchings, 19:10.2; 3. Dani McCormick, 20:13.6; 4. Sadie Fox, 20:38.3; 5. Jane Fuerstenau, 23:49.5; 6. Kendal Marking, 23:55.1; 7. Regina Theisen, 25:31.9; 8. Connie Ferguson, 25:53.6; 9. Viorica Thompson, 26:27.9; 10. Terri Cowart, 26:34.3; 11. Lanie Hughes, 26:48.4; 12. Morgan Aldridge, 26:54.7; 13. Nikelle Kruger, 28:38.4; 14. Becky Ryder, 28:59.3; 15. Charlene Spiers, 29:43.7; 16. Emma Craig, 29:58.0; 17. Melani Kruger, 30:33.4; 18. Julie English, 30:38.4; 19. Bobbi Lay, 31:38.5; 20. Bessie Lincoln, 31:53.8; 21. Melodie Epperheimer, 31:57.0; 22. June Stuckey, 32:01.5; 23. Tara Ruffner, 32:32.8; 24. Amelia Mueller, 32:50.5; 25. Violet Truesdell, 33:13.5; 26. Heather Swanson, 33:15.6; 27. Katheryne Calloway, 33:32.8; 28. Michelle Higuchi, 33:34.7; 29. Deb Russ, 33:36.5; 30. Rinna Carson, 34:00.5; 31. Reean Pitts, 34:25.1; 32. Melanny Lauver, 35:31.7; 33. Jennifer Tollackson, 35:42.9; 34. Sandra Sterling, 37:30.4; 35. Stephanie Edwards, 37:39.9; 36. Chloe Nelson, 37:46.7; 37. Karrie Nelson, 37:48.5; 38. Amy Hogue, 41:50.4; 39. Nadia Anders, 42:50.5; 40. Sammie Roderick, 43:28.0; 41. Yvonne Oren, 44:50.5; 42. Yvette Tappana, 44:54.6; 43. Sharon Isaak, 49:08.3; 44. Karen Tollackson, 49:10.3; 45. Katie Craig, 51:34.0; 46. Forrest Nelson, 56:02.0.

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