In a race dedicated to the memory of a young runner, it was appropriate that many of the participants to cross the finish line in Saturday's Ben Blackgoat Memorial Perseverance Trail Run were kids - kids running for fun, for the joy of the sport.
"This year we did the six-mile," said 11-year-old Ky Clark, who made a perilously fast sprint down the rocky trail to the finish line side-by-side with friend Erik Schlechter, also 11, to each earn a time of 59 minutes, 35 seconds. "Every year before I did the two-mile. We were just going to see how we felt at each marker and decide whether or not to go on."
Under cloudy skies and intermittent drizzle, Clark, Schlechter and 47 other runners gathered at the end of Basin Road on Saturday morning for the sixth annual race, which offered participants a choice of three distances - 2, 4 or 6.2 miles.
The run is held in memory of Ben Blackgoat, a standout cross-country runner at Juneau-Douglas High School, who died after a fall while training on Perseverance Trail in November 1996. The race raises money for a scholarship fund for JDHS runners.
The race began at the end of Basin Road, and all runners started back down the road toward town. After turning around at the Gold Creek bridge, runners turned off the road and ascended the gradual grade of the Perseverance Trail toward the checkpoints.
Participants could decide at each checkpoint whether or not to turn around or go forward for a longer distance; most completed the full 6.2-mile course. The course finished down the steep, rocky hill to the parking area at the end of Basin Road.
Recent JDHS graduate Jesse Stringer won the 6.2-mile event in a time of 40:02, followed by George Johnson in 40:20 and JDHS runner Tristan Knutson-Lombardo in 41:59. Brandy Weston was the top women's finisher for the long run, in 45:20, followed by Erin Mitchell and JoAnn Quigg, who finished the race together in 46:43.
John Walsh won the four-mile race in 28:22, with Jean Marsh the top women's four-mile finisher in 37:42.
In the two-mile event, kids dominated the top spots. Nine-year-old Cameron Clark - Ky's younger brother - came in first with a time of 15:59, followed closely by 9-year-old Andy Lawson in 16:17. Carlos Cadiente was third in 17:03. Twelve-year-old Isabel Bush was the first female finisher in the two-mile race with a time of 18:43, followed by 9-year-old Cassie Anderson in 20:07.
Eight-year-old Bryelle Marshall, visiting Juneau from Dexter, N.M., and running in her first-ever race, completed the two-mile course in 23:46. Bryelle said she had been wanting to run a race, and when the opportunity to run Saturday opened up, she decided to try it.
Her favorite part?
"Coming down the hill," she said.
Cameron Clark said he just sprinted as fast as he could to jump out to the lead in the two-mile, and said he really enjoys participating in the Ben Blackgoat Run.
"It's a fun race, and we usually have good competition," he said. "It's a fun trail to run on."
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com
BEN BLACKGOAT MEMORIAL PERSEVERANCE TRAIL RUN
Results of the sixth annual Ben Blackgoat Memorial Perseverance Trail Run, held Saturday on Basin Road and Perseverance Trail.
Cameron Clark, age 9, 15 minutes, 59 seconds; Andy Lawson, 9, 16:17; Carlos Cadiente, 52, 17:03; Mark Griffith, 22, 17:06; Tom Lawson, 51, 17:08; Darius Mannino, 30, 18:47; Michael Fleischhauer, 55, 20:11; Randy Moore, 55, 21:21.
Isabel Bush, 12, 18:43; Cassie Anderson, 9, 20:07; Robbin Garber-Slaght, 27, 21:10; Stacy Anderson, 32, 23:17; Bryelle Marshall, 8, 23:46; Heidi Stears, 30, 24:23; Wendy Boyden, 26, 24:34; Isabel Hesson, 49, 27:19.
John Walsh, 46, 28:22; Aidan Sabety-Mass, 8, 52:13.
Jean Mason, 38, 37:42; Ritchie Sonner, 46, 41:58; Rebecca Mass, 44, 52:28.
Jesse Stringer, 19, 40:02; George Johnson, 23, 40:20; Tristan Knutson-Lombardo, 16, 41:59; John Gozelski, 37, 42:26; Glenn Frick, 63, 43:13; Zane Clark, 41, 43:20; Stefan Ricci, 29, 44:43; Chris Garber-Slaght, 26, 45:34; Jim Ustasiewski, 38, 46:23; Eric Twelker, 52, 50:22; Matt Jones, 39, 54:01; Michael Schlechter, 40, 55:24; Kern Sohn, 48, 55:30; Mark Hopson, 37, 55:35; Ky Clark, 11, 59:35; Erik Schlechter, 11, 59:35; Bob Sylvester, 53, 59:52; Paul DeSloover, 54, 1:07:14.
Brandy Weston, 19, 45:20; Erin Mitchell, 30, 46:43; JoAnn Quigg, 30, 46:43; Breea DeSloover, 20, 47:53; Janeann Twelker, 49, 50:17; Jill Anderson, 36, 58:11; Sheila Grant, 40, 58:24; Donna Hahnlen, 40, 1:01:27; Jan Rutherdale, 46, 1:06:21; Kim Metcalfe, 52, 1:12:48.