Costumed Fools ready for the run

Only Fools Run at Midnight event takes place late Saturday

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2007

Juneau's downtown streets and neighborhoods may feel like Halloween as joggers and spectators take to the darkness to participate in Saturday night's Only Fools Run at Midnight.

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Only Fools run at Midnight

What: Annual race benefits Southeast Alaska Independent Living.

When: 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

Where: The race starts at Centennial Hall.

How to join: Pre-registration will take place at either JRC/The Alaska Club location or SAIL. Race-day registration will start at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall.

The annual 5-kilometer and 1-mile walk or run starts at 11:59 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall.

Amid the whooping, chattering and laughter will be wild costumes - segmented centipedes and mutated human forms. It is all in the spirit of charity and fun as friends, families and visitors gather to raise funds for Southeast Alaska Independent Living, which provides services to people with disabilities.

The annual fundraiser, in its 23rd year, is one of the community's favorite events.

The event has averaged more than 500 participants per year since Tristan Knutson-Lombardo took over as organizer in 2005. The run is gaining momentum throughout Southeast Alaska, as Ketchikan and Sitka hold similar events in the next few days.

Originally, the volunteer fire department started the race to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but in 2003, organizers turned the benefits over to Southeast Alaska Independent Living.

"SAIL works with people on an individual basis who are in need of anything that promotes independent living," Knutson-Lombardo said.

Several organizations volunteer their services to ensure the well-being of the participants. Several emergency medical technicians are always on hand, as well as police officers and the SEADOGS canine rescue organization.

"It is a great race to be involved in," Knutson-Lombardo said. "People look forward to it because it is fun for the whole family. Families run with aunts and uncles, and grandparents watch and cheer from the side of the road. There's also the appeal for the youth because it is one of the two nights of the year (New Year's Eve being the other) that they get to stay up past midnight."

The course begins at the Centennial Hall on Willoughby Avenue and quickly bends towards Cope Park on Capitol Avenue. The route veers off to the right heading up above the cemetery on Alder Street and traverses the highlands on Behrends Avenue. Runners then intersect with Glacier Avenue and go about a quarter of a mile before turning around and retracing the way back to Centennial Hall.

Free glow-in-the-dark T-shirts are included with the registration of the first 500 registrants and they always run out, Knutson-Lombardo said.

Last-minute registration is from 10:30 to 11:45 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $25 per adult, $14 for youth 14 and under and $60 for a family of four. All registrations fees will be discounted until Saturday.

Individuals can pre-register at SAIL or at either JRC/The Alaska Club location.

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