A cool overcast morning made for perfect running weather on Saturday. Almost 300 people gathered at the high school for the Homer Spit Run, a 10-kilometer race to the end of the Spit.
Hosted by the Kachemak Bay Running Club, the annual Spit Run is a course certified by USA Track & Field, the national governing body for long distance running. New this year was a 10-K walk beginning ahead of the run.
“The run is fantastic,” said Bill Steyer, president of the running club. “We tried to put together an event that would bring people out and be active. I think the race went well; it was great to see how many people came out to run and walk.”
This year Jake Moe, 30, took first place, finishing in 33 minutes, 54.5 seconds. It was his third time taking first place. His fastest time was in 2013 when he finished the race in 32:40.
“This is my third year running this race,” said Moe, who is from Anchorage. “It’s a great run, it’s great exercise and it’s a fun time. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect either.”
Homer’s own Franceska Robinson, 38, was the first woman to cross the finish line, completing the race with a time of 42:16.73.
Brynn Moe, 30, of Anchorage, was the first of the walkers to cross the finish line, reaching the end of the Spit in 51:06.52.
The two first-place winners were only small sampling of the group that came to participate and show support. Runners from all over the Kenai Peninsula and Alaska competed. Some runners even came from as far away as Houston and Kansas City.
Ralph Broshes, 70, has participated in all 39 Spit Runs. This year proved a challenge for Broshes as he underwent back surgery only two days before this year’s run. A nerve issue was affecting his leg, making life difficult for the avid runner. Though the surgery put him in a wheelchair, Broshes’ wife Deb Lowney, 60, would not allow him to miss a Spit Run.
Together the two tackled the running portion of the course, with Lowney pushing Broshes for the first leg of the trip.
“I didn’t realize it was going to be as exhausting as it was,” Lowney said, laughing. She pushed Broshes for six miles. “But it was fun as well. … We had a running streak going that we just couldn’t let go.”
Having been cleared by his doctor to walk a maximum of a mile, Broshes ended the race on his own two feet like he has every year previous.
Along the course of the race, runners and walkers had some help. Alongside several water stations to keep particpants hydrated, crowds gathered along Ocean Drive all the way to the Spit to cheer on and encourage the runners.
Likewise, the Kachemak Bay Running Club couldn’t have put on the race alone. The run was supported by dozens of local businesses, who gave a variety of door prizes.
“We formed the running club because we wanted to have a focal point to promote organized running in a community setting,” Steyer said.
The Homer Spit Run raised nearly $3,000 for youth running programs.
“It’s really important for us to thank everyone who pitched in to help make this happen,” Steyer said. “What’s important about the run is the community spirit of it, and it’s great to have the community contribute so much.”
Along with the Spit Run, the Kachemak Bay Running Club hosts several other runs and programs. This summer the Running Club has hosted several two- to three-mile fun runs. This is the fourth year the running club has hosted the Spit Run, which has been around since the 1970s. Other major sponsors of the run included South Peninsula Hospital, Land’s End Resort, Homer Community Rec and the Homer News.
Male 9 and under
6.Jeff von Rekowski0:55:55.16
Female 9 and under
3.Reilly Sue Baker1:18:37.92
3.Aziza Shemet Pitcher0:49:07.08
3.Ashley Van Hemert0:47:25.08
9.Kate von Rekowski1:07:15.20
2.Ann Marie Bailey1:15:20.09