Jack Laker finishes off his victory in the three-mile run at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday at the Kenai beach. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jack Laker finishes off his victory in the three-mile run at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday at the Kenai beach. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Wind puts wild in Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride

The wind put the wild in the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride.

The 10-mile bike ride and run at the event, which is put on by Cook Inletkeeper, starts at the mouth of the Kasilof River and ends at the Kenai beach entrance off Cannery Loop Road.

Monday, firm sand and howling gusts pushing at the runners’ and riders’ backs had bike times dramatically dropping.

“It was very fast,” said Tyle Owens, who won the 10-mile men’s ride. “Maybe it was faster than it should have been.”

Last year, Eric Thomason, who did not race this year, won in 37 minutes, 36 seconds, while Owens was fourth at 39:21. Saturday, Owens scorched the course in 32:34. The top five finishers were at or below Thomason’s winning time from last year.

After being nipped for third place last year, Owens, a junior who is home-schooled, had a strategy of going out hard for the first three miles and seeing what happened. That may have been the perfect plan for the windy day as Scott Summers was never able to catch up, finishing nine seconds behind.

“He just kept gaining and gaining on me,” Owens said. “By the last mile, he was 200 yards behind me.”

In the women’s race, Catriona Reynolds finished at 39:48 to edge out the 40:10 of Jen Showalter. Megan Anderson won the women’s race last year at 48:41.

Reynolds, the owner of Cycle Logical in Homer, knew the race would be fast when she rode on the beach about an hour before the start. Not only was the wind ripping in the right direction, but she found the sand to be very firm.

“I immediately went back and put more air in my tires,” said Reynolds, who won the race, now in its fifth year, in its first year.

She explained that a softer tire acts like a snowshoe, providing flotation on the sand. But there was no need for that Monday. Reynolds said she was in her hardest gear for pretty much the whole race.

“I love this event,” Reynolds said. “It’s a great way to start the season.”

Jode Sparks won the men’s 10-mile run in 1:11:09, with Sean Goff the runner-up at 1:15:23. Megan Youngren won the women’s event in 1:12:33, while Sarah Freeman was second at 1:15:22.

Sparks just graduated from Soldotna High School as one of four valedictorians and is interning with Cook Inletkeeper this summer, so he decided to run the event.

“I was surprised by how quickly it went,” he said. “The first quarter was hard, but after that it went quickly.”

Sparks remembered running the same course with ski poles in high school and having not nearly as enjoyable of a time as Monday.

Wind will make that kind of difference. Just ask the competitors in the three-mile race. That race started at the Cannery Loop entrance — with the wind — and then went to the mouth of the Kenai River and came back — against the wind.

“I like to start with a head wind and end with a tail wind,” said Laura Carpenter, who won the women’s run in 24:12 while Caitlyn Marang was second in 27:04. “But it was fine.

“I got hot, so when I turned around it just cooled me down.”

Carpenter, of Anchorage, was visiting her in-laws with her wife, Kenna Bates. Bates did the 10-mile ride, but Carpenter opted for the three-mile run.

“It was a lot of fun and low key and I like that it included runners and bikers,” Carpenter said. “I’m also a big supporter of salmon.”

Jack Laker, who is almost 12 and a seventh-grader at Kenai Middle School, may have had the best plan for battling the wind on the way home. Laker, who won at 22:47, simply provided the blasts off Cook Inlet a lot less surface area than full-fledged adults Rustin Hitchcock (23:03) and Scott Huff (23:57). Laker took the lead from the duo at the turnaround.

“I thought they were going to pass me,” said the middle-schooler, who was a high of fifth in a cross-country meet and sixth in a cross-country ski race this season as only a sixth-grader.

The race was put on by Kaitlin Vadla and Laura Rhyner of Cook Inletkeeper. Both work out of the organization’s central Kenai Peninsula office. Also partnering to put on the event were the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Tsalteshi Trails Association, Kenai Watershed Forum and Kenai Peninsula Trout Unlimited.

The race had 118 participants, which is off the record high of 143 a year ago, but still nearly double the 67 that showed up for the first race and stood as the record high until last year.

Cook Inletkeeper’s mission is to protect clean water and salmon habitat, and also building a community to make sure people have a say in the resource development that happens in their community.

“The reason I do this race is to connect people to place,” Vadla said. “I want people to get outside and love this place they call home.”

Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride

MEN

Three-mile run — 1. Jack Laker, 22 minutes, 47 seconds; 2. Rustin Hitchcock, 23:03; 3. Scott Huff, 23:57; 4. Sorin Sorensen, 26:05; 5. Tom Rhyner, 31:14; 6. Steve Cothran, 34:56; 7. Kemp Descutner, 35:05; 8. Owen Miller, 35:16; 9. Leif Laker, 35:25; 10. William Miller, 36:48; 11. Glenn Presser, 46:58; 12. Mavrico Gatica, 52:00; 13. Mark Burton, 52:05.

10-mile bike — 1. Tyle Owens, 32:34; 2. Scott Summers, 32:43; 3. Brian Marang, 35:33; 4. David Edwards-Smith, 36:42; 5. Jim Hall, 37:36; 6. Jeff McDonald, 39:32; 7. Robert Toll, 39:48; 8. Sky Carver, 39:48; 9. Landen Showalter, 39:57; 10. James Showalter, 40:42; 11. Carl Kincaid, 43:21; 12. Ed Schmitt, 44:18; 13. Dylan Hogue, 44:20; 14. Chris Owens, 44:36; 15. Bud Crawford, 49:01; 16. Kelly Sederhol, 50:19; 17. Matthew Mannhardt, 51:15; 18. John Messick, 52:31; 19. Ethan Hogue, 54:08; 20. Robert Carson, 55:55; 21. Rob Carson, 56:01; 22. Clark Whitney, 56:03; 23. Peter DiCarlo, 57:07; 24. Tony Oliver, 58:39; 25. Bob Shavelson, 1:00:22.

26. Dave Atcheson, 1:02:48; 27. Sean Dunham, 1:06:56; 28. Hollis Swan, 1:10:20; 29. Doug Hogue, 1:11:05; 30. Joel Todd, 1:12:12; 31. Bruce Vadla, 1:18:19; 32. Jim Janssen, 1:38:28.

10-mile run — 1. Jode Sparks, 1:11:09; 2. Sean Goff, 1:15:23; 3. Ryan Peterson, 1:18:21; 4. Brendan Webb, 1:20:15; 5. Kent Peterson, 1:20:26; 6. Brett Vadla, 1:21:40; 7. Jordan Chilson, 1:25:56; 8. Mike Salzetti, 1:30:18; 9. Adam Pohl, 1:32:09; 10. August Lambers, 1:50:29; 11. John Van Tuyl, 2:09:53.

WOMEN

Three-mile run — 1. Laura Carpenter, 24:12; 2. Caitlyn Marang, 27:04; 3. Chisato Johnson, 29:42; 4. Kara Veihdeffer, 32:07; 5. Dana McDonald, 34:17; 6. Katie Gatica, 34:41; 7. Eileen Swartz, 34:53; 8. Nicole Hoops, 34:53; 9. Erika Descutner, 35:00; 10. Kelly Miller, 35:15; 11. Julie Laker, 35:26; 12. Emily Kornelis, 36:27; 13. Caitlin Miller, 36:43; 14. Sarah Miller, 37:18; 15. Abi Miller, 40:02; 16. Audrey McDonald, 40:40; 17. Hadley Kornelis, 40:50; 18. Mary Rhyner, 40:50; 19. Yvonne Oren, 42:52; 20. Nicole Nilson, 46:57.

10-mile bike — 1. Catriona Reynolds, 39:48; 2. Jen Showalter, 40:10; 3. Angelica Sulley, 42:56; 4. Amy George, 44:38; 5. Connie Vann, 44:43; 6. Sara Barrowcliff, 45:20; 7. Mary Simondsen, 47:10; 8. Simone Owens, 49:01; 9. Mollie Messick, 49:46; 10. Mateland Farrell, 51:27; 11. Heather Huff, 53:50; 12. Madison McDonald, 54:09; 13. Laura Sievert, 56:29; 14. Theresa Halpin, 59:18; 15. Tammy Farrell, 1:00:44; 16. Kenna Bates, 1:01:08; 17. Gail Moore, 1:04:41; 18. Sheila Pollard, 1:06:52; 19. Lauri Lingafelt, 1:08:05; 20. Sandi Crawford, 1:08:07; 21. Coleen Rocker, 1:08:44; 22. Alexandra Cunningham, 1:10:20; 23. Amy Hogue, 1:11:05; 24. Alexi Charter, 1:12:15; 25. Cody Czerramson, 1:23:21.

26. Jackie Rocker, 1:23:22; 27. Theresa Salzetti, 1:30:20; 28. Maria Salzetti, 1:30:24; 29. Ariane Jasmin, 1:38:03; 30. Cindy Nielsen, 1:38:31.

10-mile run — 1. Megan Youngren, 1:12:33; 2. Sarah Freeman, 1:15:22; 3. Emily Heale, 1:23:46; 4. Alice Main, 1:27:08; 5. Jessie Huett, 1:30:30; 6. Paula Hansen, 1:35:16; 7. Amy Baxter, 1:35:29; 8. Natalie Bickers, 1:36:44; 9. Rebecca Walker, 1:38:03; 10. Leslie Morton, 1:41:30.

Catriona Reynolds finishes off a victory in the 10-mile bike at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday at the Kenai beach. On Reynolds’ tail is Sky Carver. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Catriona Reynolds finishes off a victory in the 10-mile bike at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday at the Kenai beach. On Reynolds’ tail is Sky Carver. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jode Sparks runs to victory in the 10-mile men’s run at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday at the Kenai beach. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jode Sparks runs to victory in the 10-mile men’s run at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday at the Kenai beach. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Laura Carpenter of Anchorage runs to victory in the three-mile women’s race at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 28, 2018, at the Kenai beach. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Laura Carpenter of Anchorage runs to victory in the three-mile women’s race at the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run and Ride on Monday, May 28, 2018, at the Kenai beach. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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