By McKibben Jackinsky
For the Homer News
Perfectly fitted shoes. Sweat-absorbent clothing. Establishing a pace. Setting a finish-time goal. These are just a few of the considerations facing hundreds of runners and walkers registering for the annual 10-kilometer Homer Spit Run being held Saturday.
A brand new event and a few changes have been added this year by organizer Kachemak Bay Running Club and co-sponsors South Peninsula Hospital, Cycle Logical, Haas and Spigelmyer and the Homer News: the 13.1-mile Cosmic Hamlet Half Marathon and a new set-up for pre-race bib pickup and race-day registration.
“We had an informal half marathon earlier this summer that brought down many out-of-town runners. They all hoped that we would offer another run,” Andy Haas, running club vice president, said of out-of-town interest sparked by the longer event. In addition, “there are a lot of faithful 10K runners who wanted to take it up another notch.”
Club President Jen Booz, who is currently out of the country and will miss Saturday’s races, sees the half marathon as a way to enhance Homer’s identify as a running hot spot.
“I would like Homer to be a running destination and the Spit Run is a great event to attract runners from around the state and Outside,” Booz said by email from Greece. “Half marathons are becoming increasingly popular and are the second most popular race behind the 5K. Anchorage has several big races a year, attracting many runners from around the country. I think it is about time Homer joined the club.”
The half-marathon begins at 9 a.m. at the End of the Road Park near the tip of the Homer Spit, continues along Spit Trail and adds some distance on Ocean Loop Drive before heading to Homer High School. There, participants will turn around and head back to the finish line at the end of the Spit.
“That way it will be a bit of fun for the 10K runners to watch them come through,” said Haas.
The 10K event begins at the high school. Walkers cross the start line at 9:30 a.m., runners at 10 a.m. As for the half-marathon, the 10K course finishes at the End of the Road Park.
Pre-registration for both events can be done online through today, June 22, at www.kachemakbayrunningclub.com. It is $30 for the 10K and $40 for the half marathon, with a $5 discount for club members. A T-shirt is included.
An additional $5 is added for race-day registration. In the past, race-day signup was held at the high school. This year, because of the addition of the half marathon, things are a bit different. Race-day registration will be held for both the 10K and half marathon at the end of the Spit, from 8-9:30 a.m. Race-day bib pickup for the 10K will be at Homer High School 8-9:30 and for the half marathon at the end of the Spit from 8-8:45 a.m. A shuttle will be available before and after the race to transport participants between the end of the Spit and Homer High School.
“It is far easier, and cheaper, to register in advance,” Haas said.
Early bib pickup is being offered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Homer Brew following the running club’s weekly fun run, and Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware.
The Thursday fun run is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m.
Prizes for this Saturday’s events include pottery mugs for the top finishers made by local runner and running club board member Tara Schmidt.
Claiming first place in the 2016 Spit Run was Homer runner Pedro Ochoa, 19, with a time of 35:12.58. He was followed by 16-year-old Jacob Davis in second with a time of 37:00.81 and Marlin Schuster, 31, in third, with a finish time of 37:24.56.
Among the female runners, Tara Schmidt, 25, was first with a finish time of 42:44.32. Homer High School student Megan Pitzman was second with 42:22.90 and her classmate Lauren Evarts third, with a time of 43:40.99. A total of 235 runners and 49 walkers entered the 2016 event.