Two runs offer competition, fun, fresh air, support

Making its 19th annual return Sunday is the Breast Cancer Run, a five-mile run and one-mile walk sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic. Close on its heels is the 2nd annual 5K “Sole for Hospice” on Aug. 24, an untimed event benefiting Hospice of Homer.

19th annual Breast Cancer Run

“The Breast Cancer Run is a long tradition for Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic. It’s become a very beloved, popular event,” said Heather O’Connor. The executive director of KBFPC since October, this is O’Connor’s first year to experience the event.”

As in past year’s, the run begins and ends at Bishop’s Beach. Registration is a suggested $35, “with every dollar helping women right here,” said O’Connor. “It funds diagnostic care here and in the lower peninsula community.”

The event is an opportunity for serious runners to compete, but also is designed for walkers, strollers and anyone wanting to be part of the event.

Pink, the color associated with the fight against breast cancer, is the color of the day. Past participants have been easy to identify by their pink hats, shirts, shorts, tights, socks, shoes, headbands, boas and bandanas.

The event ends with food, prizes, live music by the marimba band Shamwari, and “a ceremony to honor those who have dealt with breast cancer in the past and are currently living with it,” said O’Connor, who is quick to point out the combined effort of volunteers and the Kachemak Bay Running Club that makes the race a success.

“We would not be able to put this on without several hardworking volunteers,” she said. 

The 2012 run drew 80 participants.
“We’re trying to beat that number this year,” said O’Connor.

Until the race, expect to see more and more businesses displaying pink flags in support of the event and those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer. 

“If any business wants to join in, we would love to have their partnership,” said O’Connor. A $100 donation is asked for that level of sponsorship, with a form available online. 

Across the United States, women have a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer.

“The Homer rates of breast cancer incidents are about the same as the national rate,” said Catriona Lowe of KBPFC.

While there are varying thoughts about the value of self-breast exams, “one thing hasn’t changed: the value of seeing a health practitioner every year,” said Lowe. 

Second annual Soles for Hospice

This is the second year for Hospice of Homer’s non-timed 5K fun run-walk, Soles for Hospice, done “as part of our hospice mission,” said event organizer Lise Klein Kirsis. 

Hospice of Homer offers non-medical physical, psychological, social, spiritual and emotional support for the frail and isolated, those facing life-threatening illnesses and the end-of-life transition.

The registration fee of $20 for adults, $10 for teenagers and $30 for families benefits the organization’s programs.

The 2012 run-walk was held in memory of Kirsis’ husband, Val, who died in 2010, shortly after qualifying for the Boston Marathon. This year’s event is in memory of Doug Schwiesow.

“Doug had a great passion for life as well as a love of the outdoors. He completed many long-distance trips and races, by bike, ski or foot. He constantly pushed himself and encouraged others of all ages and abilities to also push their own limits and explore their wild backyards,” wrote Schwiesow’s partner, Lisa Krebs.

“Access to the outdoors was always a top priority for Doug and he worked hard to bring trails in the local area into reality, primarily the trails at Lookout Mountain and the Marathon Trail. In addition to his athletics, he was a highly skilled welder-boat builder, metal artist, fisherman, father and a dear friend, and a source of love and inspiration for many. He passed away in 2011 from ALS.”

The course begins at the hospice offices and ends with a reception at Bear Creek Winery, complete with snacks and beverages, including a limited edition wine produced in honor of Soles for Hospice.

“We’re very grateful to Bear Creek Winery for their support of the hospice mission and all of the many organizations and people who support us for this event and in general,” said Kirsis.

Last year’s Soles for Hospice attracted 70 participants.

“A lot of us have been quietly supported by this organization and I feel very good being part of this board. They do an excellent work in this town,” said Kirsis.


5-mile Breast Cancer Run

WHEN:  11 a.m., Sunday

Sponsored by Kachemak Bay
Family Planning Clinic 

3959 Ben Walters Lane 
To register: 

• Visit

• Call 235-3436 or stop by KBFPC
   9:30-10:30 a.m. Aug. 18

5K Soles for Hospice

WHEN:  11 a.m., Aug 24

Sponsored by Hospice of Homer

910 East End Road, Suite 2 

To register: 

• Call 235-6899 or stop by KBFPC
9:30-10:45 a.m. Aug. 24