About the only thing the 300-plus participants in the 33rd Annual Only Fools Run at Midnight had in common was their footwear selection.
While plenty of Brooks, Asics and Nikes shuffled across the carpet of Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall Saturday night, the rest of peoples’ costumes ranged widely from a felt packet of ketchup to a motorcycle helmet-wearing astronaut.
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) put on the summer run to raise money for its higher education program. Normally, CCTHITA raises money for its scholarship fund through the Spring King Salmon Derby. When the derby was canceled this year due to low salmon runs, CCTHITA contacted the Juneau Trail & Road Runners in search of races that needed organizers, and scored one of Juneau’s most popular races.
The 5 kilometer and 1 mile races both began outside the Andrew Hope Building on Willoughby Avenue. The 5K runners weaved around the Evergreen Cemetery before descending down Alder Street to Behrends Avenue. Runners emptied onto Glacier Highway just past Juneau-Douglas High School before turning around outside the AWARE shelter to head back to the starting line.
Allan Spangler was fastest male finisher, clocking a sub-18 minute race. Jasmin Holst, 14, was the first female finisher.
The overwhelming majority of the participants were more concerned with looking foolish than clocking a personal record, however.
“I wish more prep time went into it, but unfortunately I kind of look like him,” Adrienne Sypeck said of her portrayal of Dwight Schrute from the TV sitcom The Office. The 20-year-old wore a tan short-sleeve shirt from the Fred Meyers clearance rack with a yellow tie she borrowed from her dad, Rick, who also got in on the act. Rick wore a light blue shirt and black tie resemble Schrute’s nemesis in the show, Jim Halpert.
“We love The Office,” Rick said. “Dwight is an excellent character so Adrienne wanted to dress up like him.”
Elsewhere in the hall before the race was 10-year-old Bryanna Eakes, or as she went by, “Little Miss Freak Show.” Eakes was the winner of wackiest youth girls costume contest. Eakes’ pink scrunchies formed two long pony tails. Her matching pink argyle shirt and socks somehow managed to go nicely with her rainbow-colored tutu.
“I just decided to put some of my old dance costumes together,” Eakes said.
Other costumes, like Lindsay Clark’s Titanic ship, required much more forethought and creativity.
Clark teamed up with a half dozen friend to form the winning centipede in this year’s Fool run. Centipedes are five or more registered contestants connected in some form.
Clark and Beth Loudon dressed in yellow shirts and custom hats resembling a ship’s funnel. Around each girls’ waist were cardboard-crafted halves of the passenger liner.
As for the rest of the centipedes, Alex Litzsinger wore what looked to be a giant nylon mesh shower ball to play the part of the iceberg. Robin Woodby and Dominic McGonegal sported a black and yellow life raft while Tom Serikov wore a rogue ship panel with paper movie characters hanging off the end.
“You definitely have to know the movie to get it,” Clark said.
With about seven minutes before midnight, event emcees Kolene and Lyle James instructed everyone to head out to the curb to begin the run. Under a lazy drizzle of rain, Francine Jones led the crowd in a countdown to the start.
Before long, several centipede teams had already finished the mile run. With each additional finisher, Jones, who wore an embroidered Mickey Mouse sweater and blue wizards hat, shook her wooden maracas in celebration.
Seated in a walker 200 feet away outside the Fireweed Place, 89-year-old Pat Arasmith kept her eyes fixed toward the commotion up the street. Wearing a long, droopy blue hat not all that different from Jones’, Arasmith kept her eyes fixed toward the finish line, where her great-granddaughter would finish the race. It’s one of the few nights of the year Arasmith can stay out past midnight.
“I can be a fool like everybody else,” Arasmith said.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.