Under sunny skies Sunday, dozens gathered to combat cancer by walking, relaxing, eating donuts and smiling.
Brewery to Bathroom is an annual race put on by the American Cancer Society of Alaska and the local chapter of Relay for Life — but it’s only a 0.5K, a sort-of-parody of other charity 5K runs like the Relay for Life itself.
Before the race, organizer Alana Martin spoke about the American Cancer Society — saying they’re the organization that has donated the second largest sum toward cancer research, behind only the federal government.
In addition to pursuing cancer research, they also provide transportation grants. In Alaska, she said, the society has provided nearly 6,000 free rides to nearly 300 patients who have to travel for treatment.
That’s the work, she said, that the race is supporting. Before this year’s numbers were added, Brewery to Bathroom had raised more than $16,000. On Monday, Martin wrote that this year’s fundraiser had brought in $5,328 — raising the program’s total well over $21,000.
Before the race, Martin asked the gathered athletes to raise their hands if they “don’t know anyone who has been touched by cancer.”
“The day that we are all here raising our hands is the day that we can stop fighting,” she said. “I’m not a doctor and I’m not a researcher, but I can walk a third of a mile and eat donuts every year until we get there.”
Racers on Sunday started at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, then casually strolled all the way to the Soldotna Creek Park bathrooms. Some racers completed the race in only a couple of minutes, while the final stragglers sauntered over the finish line without even a bead of sweat around 30 minutes later.
Racers didn’t even have to round the first bend to see a couch ready and waiting for those in need of a quick break. Right up the hill, the Kenai Watershed Forum hosted a rehydration station in front of their offices, passing out cups of water and Goldfish crackers.
Along the path were “demotivators,” signs with less-than-encouraging messages like “Today I am going to give it my some,” or “I have a black belt in partial arts.”
The halfway point was nearly within sight of the rehydration station. Kenai Lions Club members were ready and waiting at the refueling station — doughnut holes on the menu. Before turning around and beginning the arduous trek back to the brewery, athletes could stop by the selfie station — sticking their heads through hanging toilet seats for a quick photo opportunity.
After the race, awards were given to the “.5K-est,” the groups that best exemplified the spirit of the race. A group attired in dinosaur costumes, the Dino Divas, were named runners-up. They fell short of the top spot because their costumes were too hot — sweating was expressly discouraged.
Claiming the prestigious award was the Kenai Peninsula Outdoors Club. Each member wore life jackets and carried a paddle. The group even towed along a kayak.
The real winners were those who participated in the race via the couch-to-couch option. For an increased donation the athletes most dedicated to the spirit of the .5K could participate without leaving their own home. Martin said she would be mailing them the race swag and snacks they missed out on.
For more information, visit facebook.com/RFLofAKSouth.