Smorgasboard of events for Juneau athletes

Posted: Friday, July 07, 2000

Athletes in Juneau can take their pick of competitive events this weekend.

On Saturday, the athletes can go for a run with the 23rd Annual Governor's Cup Fun Run/Walk, ride a bike with the Historic Treadwell Trail Mountain Bike Race, or even go sailing with the second round of the 2000 Rum Cup Challenge.

Probably the biggest event is the Governor's Cup race, which typically draws between 100 and 475 runners depending on the weather. The first 180 runners to enter receive tie-dyed t-shirts. Both Gov. Tony Knowles and Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer have prior commitments and won't be able to participate this year, race co-organizer Heather Johnson-Smith said.

``We're hoping for about 200,'' said Johnson-Smith, a co-organizer with Caro Rosier-Polley. ``Our highest has been in the 400s (477 in 1982) and the last couple of years it's been about 200. We expect our top runners to finish in about 18 minutes, and our slowest walkers to take about 45 minutes.''

This year's 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race starts at the corner of Fourth and Main, in front of the court house building downtown. From there it follows a course that winds down Calhoun past the Governor's Mansion to 12th, then onto Glacier Avenue where it picks up the bicycle trails to Mile 3 Egan Highway where the race ends, in front of Hospice and Home Care below Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Racers are encouraged to plan ahead and park a car at the finish line, then car pool to the start with a friend. A vehicle will take sweats from the race start to the finish line.

Former Juneau-Douglas High School runner Jim Shine Jr., who is a four-time all-American runner at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., broke the men's course record last year, posting a time of 14 minutes, 58 seconds. The women's course record is 18:16 by Lisa Kirsch in 1992. Last year's women's winner was Kristin Patterson in 20:01.

Over the years the race has been dominated by the Thibodeau family. Guy Thibodeau won in 1980, 1981 and 1996, while Rick Thibodeau won in 1983-84 and 1986-1995 (no results were available for 1978, 1979 and 1982). Celeste Thibodeau won the women's race in 1981. The top women's winner has been Shelly James, who won in 1983 and again from 1986-1991.

Pre-registration is available through 5:30 p.m. today at both Juneau Racquet Club locations and Foggy Mountain Shop. Day-ofrace registration starts at 8 a.m. Saturday in front of the court house. Pre-registration is $5, with $8 for day-of-race entries, and $1 for children age 13-and-younger.

The mountain bike race also starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and racers should meet by the Sandy Beach picnic area in Douglas.

This event features two- and four-loop courses, depending on experience and age, with each loop running about two miles through the old Treadwell Mine area. Race organizer Jim Sheufelt said the race is a good one for beginning mountain bike racers since the course has been graded and isn't as technical as some of the other courses used in Juneau Freewheelers' Association mountain bike events. The course is also free from automobile traffic, so parents are encouraged to bring their younger riders to the race.

``It's definitely tourist friendly, there's not much technical stuff left,'' Sheufelt said. ``There's one small stretch where there's some single-track, and it's not widened. But it should be a good ride for beginners. It's a good one for trying things out.''

Helmets are required for all JFA bike races, as are National Off-Road Bike Association (NORBA) licenses. NORBA season passes can be purchased at all JFA races, as well as $5 singleevent NORBA licenses. There is also a $5 race fee.

After the mountain bike race ends, racers can head over to Mayflower Island near Douglas Harbor to watch the start of the sixth annual Rum Cup Challenge sailing race at 10:30 a.m.

In past years as many as 26 sailboats have been entered in the four-round Rum Cup series, with crews ranging in size from one person to as many as six sailers on a boat. The race is open to all sailboats, and membership in the Juneau Sailing Club is not a requirement for this race. Skippers must attend an 8 a.m. skippers' meeting at the Juneau Harbormaster's Office near Aurora Harbor.

The sailboats will head from Douglas to Admiralty Cove on Saturday, a distance of about 18 miles. After anchoring at Admiralty Cove overnight (there is a scheduled barbecue on the Admiralty Cove beach after the first leg of the race), the racers will head back toward Juneau on Sunday with the race ending about Sheep Creek, for a course about three miles shorter than the first day). Powerboats can follow along and join in the postrace festivities, but should give the sailboats room to maneuver during the race.

The Rum Cup Challenge is a four-round event with each round having two legs. During the first round May 27-29 to Taku Harbor and back, John Hartle and his boat Kaila II won the first leg and Chris Burns and his boat Drifter won the second leg. The third round is Aug. 5-6 to Admiralty Cove and the final round is Sept. 2-4 to Taku Harbor. Boats need to complete at least four of the eight legs during the summer to figure in the overall point standings.

``We're expecting winds to be fairly light for Saturday,'' said Burns, who is one of the race contacts. ``How long it takes depends on the wind. Sometimes it can take four hours for the slowest boats, and other times the fastest boats need eight hours. It's a dog-leg course so the wind plays a factor.''

Burns said boats typically range from 22 feet to 36 or 38 feet, and there is a special Dynamic Rum Cup Handicap System used to help equalize the field. Not only does the DRCHS use features from standard sailing handicap systems - like the size of the boat, keel size, types of sails and if a spinnaker is used - but it also takes into account if the boat is set up as a cruising sailboat, or even a liveaboard. The handicap has allowances for if the boat is carrying televisions, VCRs, electric refrigeration, dinghies, dogs, cats and babies. It also takes into account a crew's experience level, and after each round the handicap is adjusted based on the winning times.

For more information on these events, please check the Sports in Juneau listings on Page 10.

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