Juneau's Only Fools Run makes a return to the midnight hour

Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2003

After a move to daylight hours last summer, organizers of the annual Only Fools Run have shifted this year's race back to a time when, well, only fools run.

The 19th annual race, back to being called Only Fools Run at Midnight, will begin at Centennial Hall at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. There will be two events - a 5-kilometer run and a 1-mile walk - as well as some awards for those who show up in costume.

"We really want it to be a fun event for all - for families with kids, for anybody," said race organizer George Johnson. "The sky's the limit for what you want to make of it."

Funds raised by competitors will go to Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL). The Alaska office of the Muscular Dystrophy Association has ended its longtime association with the event.

SAIL is a private non-profit organization that provides independent living services to people with disabilities in Southeast. Outdoor Recreation and Community Access (ORCA) is one of SAIL's programs.

For most of its existence, the Only Fools Run started at midnight. Two years ago, the start time was changed to 10 p.m. to accommodate more families and children. Last year, the night start and downtown course were abandoned altogether in favor of a Sunday afternoon race in the Mendenhall Valley - one that saw a sharp decrease in participation.

This year, the Only Fools Run returns to its roots. In past races, a number of competitors have shown up in costumes - sometimes even in "centipede" groups of several racers strung together. Organizers hope this year's race will see a revival of that spirit.

"There's been a lot of energy and excitement when we tell people it's back to midnight and on its original course," race organizer Don Eagle said.

The 5K race will start at Centennial Hall, go down Willoughby Avenue to Capital Avenue, up Capital to Cope Park, down 12th Street and up Irwin and Martin Streets past Evergreen Cemetery; and through the Highlands to Behrends Avenue. The course will take Behrends to Ross Way, down Ross to Glacier Avenue, and out Glacier Avenue to near the AWARE shelter. From there, runners will turn around and follow Glacier and Willoughby Avenues back to the finish at Centennial Hall.

The 1-mile walk will be an out-and-back route from Centennial Hall along Willoughby and Glacier Avenues.

Registration forms are available at both locations of JRC-The Alaska Club and at the Nugget Alaskan Outfitter. Race-night registration will be available, but competitors should arrive well ahead of the race start due to the anticipated large turnout.

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