Ketchikan works to boot old Guinness record

KETCHIKAN — Folks in Ketchikan likely set a new Guinness World Records mark when nearly 2,000 people showed up to race one kilometer in their rain boots.

Exactly 1,976 people showed up for Saturday’s event, trying to set a new mark for largest rain boot race.

“I’m so incredibly proud of Ketchikan,” Shauna Lee, one of the race’s many founders, told the Ketchikan Daily News. “For this town to come out on a day that didn’t start off with the best weather, I’m overwhelmed with pride.”

They will have to wait for official word on the record from the organization, but the old mark was 1,366 participants, set in Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, in 2009.

“I looked back during the race and thought ‘That’s got to be at least 1,367 people,’” Rob Hill, a racer in the Ketchikan attempt, said. “The road was wall-to-wall full of people.

“Then my wife and I walked for a couple minutes before turning around again, and there were even more people. That’s when it wasn’t a question of if we beat the record, but by how much.”

It was an international effort to help Ketchikan reach the new mark.

Kelly Breemer and Femke Boersma of Utrecht, Holland, are on a two-month vacation in North America. They headed to Ketchikan when they heard about the attempt to break the rain boot record.

“We’re from a very rainy place, so we said, ‘Yeah, we can support this,’” Breemer said. “It’s great that we were able to participate. Instead of feeling like tourists, we’ve felt like locals for a week.”

And just for the other record, Tyler Nutter with the Great Alaska Lumberjack Show won the 1K race.

This was the second attempt to break the boot record in Ketchikan, but only 1,008 people showed up in their boots last year.

Visual evidence of this year’s race, like photos and videos, will have to be sent to Guinness headquarters in New York for verification.

Once that happens, Ketchikan will get a certificate and an authorization code allowing each participant to print out their own personalized certificates.

Even though the ink isn’t even dry on this one yet, Ketchikan residents know that all records are meant to be broken. There’s even talk that people in Juneau might try to break Ketchikan’s record.

“Someday it will be broken, and I know that will spark us to rally and get it back. But for now, it’s ours,” Hill said.

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