It was a hot time for a Midsummer Night 10K run.
With the temperature above 70 degrees and only a few clouds in the sky, nearly 80 runners showed up for a rare night race hosted by the Southeast Road Runners club Tuesday night at False Outer Point. There was a 10-kilometer race (6.2 miles) for the older runners, and a one-mile race for the kids and some adults.
Shawn Miller, who is training to run the Seattle Marathon later this summer, won the 10K race in 34:24. Miller was shadowed by recent Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Gabe Hayden through the first part of the course, but Miller pulled away on the second half and finished more than a minute ahead of second-place runner Jeff Williamson (36:04). Hayden took third place (36:16).
"I actually prefer the Sunday (and Saturday) morning runs," Miller said. "Anything to get away from this heat. I got drained. I was feeling that headwind the last two miles."
In 10K races, Miller said he's developed a habit of starting the race slowly and building his tempo in the second half of the race. Hayden, though, said he was trying for a personal record in the first 5K. He may have burned himself out a bit on the first half of the course, as he broke his personal-best by seven seconds.
"It was a fun race," Hayden said. "It was a totally different atmosphere (than the usual weekend morning SERR events). It's a cool idea. Go to work, then go do a race."
Williamson, a University of Michigan law student who is in Juneau this summer doing an internship, caught up with Hayden on the second half of the course, then pulled away over the last 100 meters to grab second place. The only other race Williamson has run in Juneau was last month's Seacoast Relay.
"I ran in college at William and Mary in Virginia, but I graduated in 1999 and the last 10K I did was four years ago," Williamson said. "This is nice, especially when the weather's like this. On the weekends, people have other things to do."
Breea Mearig, a recent graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, was the top female runner. She took fifth place overall in 41:04. Mearig passed her former Juneau-Douglas High School teammate, Brandy Anderson, after Anderson led through the early part of the course.
Anderson, who is transferring to Central Washington University this fall after two years at Western State College, took second place among women in 42:10 (sixth overall). Emily Ferry was third in 44:11 (10th overall).
"That felt good, and it was a good memorial run," said Mearig, who added that the race used to be known as the Ken Humphries Memorial Run when she ran it in previous years. "I like having motivation, and a Tuesday night run is great. It gives you a good workout."
"I haven't run when it's this hot in a long time," Anderson said as Mearig propped the wobbly runner up and kept her from falling after they crossed the finish line. "This was different. I love racing, any time there's a race."
Ferry, who moved to Juneau this spring, said she loved the course. It followed the North Douglas Highway from False Outer Point to the other side of the Fish Creek bridge and back. The course provided runners a scenic view, as about 20 kayaks took off from the North Douglas boat ramp during the race.
"It was nice running on the flat surfaces, where you can kind of be on autopilot," said Ferry, who has been competing in the trail runs this summer. "It was nice to look forward to doing this after work."
About 20 members of the Fast Women Tuesday Night Running group ran with dresses over their running togs as they celebrated member Deb Rudis' 50th birthday. Rudis wore a black sash that said, "Ms. State of Decline," and a tiara that said, "Old."
"It was hot, wicked hot," said Rudis, who finished in 48:00 and was the seventh female finisher.
Ky Clark, Cameron Clark and Erik Schlechter each finished the one-mile race in 6:43. The top girl was Karissa Jackson in 6:57, good for fourth place overall behind the three boys.
Full results from the two races will run in the Empire sports section later this week.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.