Fooling around at midnight

Pusich, DeSloover win fun run titles

Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2000

To be honest, some of the runners in the Only Fools Run at Midnight race early Saturday morning looked pretty darn foolish.

There was Evan Twelker the lounge lizard, who wore a polyester shirt and had a thick thatch of fake chest hair tangled in his gold chains.

There were Shooting Stars, Christy Thompson and Sonya Berger, who arrived complete with squirt guns and sparkling hats.

And then there was the six-runner centipede known as ROY G BIV, which stood for the colors of the rainbow (Brandy Weston was Red, Heidi Denton was Orange, Breanne Rohm was Yellow, Jess Mikesell was Green, Annie Fox was Blue and Meghan DeSloover was Indigo-Violet, and the six ran tethered to each other by a long piece of orange twine).

Other costumed runners included hula girls, someone in their 'jammies, a tiger and a bunch of sports groupies.

Yep, there was some fun in this fun run.

But there was a serious side, as many of the runners helped raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Alaska to combat neuromuscular diseases affecting Alaskans. The top fund-raiser, Kristin Jones, age 10, won a round-trip ticket to San Diego's America's Finest City Half-Marathon and 5K in August. Jones teamed with 9-year-old Molly Weishahn to raise $240.

There were also some serious runners in the 5-kilometer run (and a 1-mile walk) along Willoughby Avenue to Wickersham Road off Glacier Highway.


Dave Pusich claimed the men's overall 5K title, posting a time of 17 minutes, 38 seconds to beat Juneau-Douglas High

School junior-to-be Jesse Stringer by seven seconds. John Bursell edged Hiram Henry, who ran with a flowing wig of bright yellow hair, in a sprint for third place as both runners clocked times of 17:53, while Wesley Brooks took fifth place in 18:36.

In the women's race, recent Juneau-Douglas graduate Breea DeSloover outsprinted Joanne Quigg to claim her second straight championship with a time of 21:06 to Quigg's 21:08. Rita Hansen of Seattle took third place in 21:46, followed by Karen Nanseth in 22:01 and hula skirt-clad Mary Ann Gosling in 22:15.

Complete results will be printed later this week once a couple of timing glitches are solved, such as dropped names in the computer and bandit (unregistered) runners crossing the finish line to mess up the finish order. The result age groups will also be reconfigured for Empire Cup points.

In the women's race, DeSloover outsprinted the second-place finisher for the second straight year to claim the title. Last year she outsprinted Maria Eley, and this year it was Quigg.

``She didn't warn me she was coming,'' Quigg said after losing her sprint with DeSloover, who thought she started the race too slow. ``I went out too fast. But that was fun.''

``We were sprinting around the corner (from in front of the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall to Centennial Hall),'' said DeSloover, who plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University this fall. ``I don't have a plan when I race, ever. Last year, Maria kind of said, `Oh well,' and let me go. This time, I just kept seeing women ahead of me and tried to catch them.''

Nanseth thought she'd been running as the third woman in the race, when out of the corner of her eye she saw an unidentified woman blazing past her. She didn't recognize the woman, who turned out to be from out of town.

``At least I'm the first old chick to finish,'' Nanseth said, before finding out Hansen was actually in an older age bracket. ``It was so nice out. It was a perfect night for running.''

Hansen and her husband are doing the grand tour of Alaska this summer, but she came prepared. She said she picked up a copy of the Alaska Runners' Calendar, and started marking race dates on her calendar, like the Talkeetna Moose Dropping Festival Fun Run in mid-July, so they could plan their journey. Hansen said she's training for the Hood to Coast Relay in Oregon, which is held in late August.

In the men's race, Pusich grabbed the lead about a third of the way into the race and led the lead pack to the turnaround. Once past the turnaround, Pusich pulled ahead while the second- through fifth-place runners jockeyed for positions behind him.

``I got a cramp in my chest, so I was just kind of holding on, waiting for someone to catch me,'' said Pusich, who took a few minutes from organizing this weekend's 25th Annual Rainball Invitational Softball Tournament so he could run the race. ``I don't like leading out (the early part of the race), because when I'm in front I tend to relax. But I had a pretty good gap. It was fun, but we went out pretty slow.''

Stringer said the leaders overshot the turnaround by a few yards as the monitor was standing behind the mark. But even so, the times were still on the slow side.

``I was second, then fifth, and I stayed in fifth until the turnaround,'' Stringer said. ``But I picked it up around J.J.'s (Deli). That's where the race was, right there. This was my first race of the summer. It was a good race. It's my favorite one to do all year.''

Bursell, who teamed with Pusich and Pusich's brother Paul last weekend in the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay, said he enjoyed the good weather and nice flat course. He also said he enjoyed not getting caught in a major pile-up like he did last weekend.

``I was waiting for the crash,'' Bursell said. ``We (the leaders) went back and forth a lot during the race.''

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