Approximately 400 Juneau residents competed in last weekend's 2008 Klondike Road Relay that runs from Skagway to Whitehorse. It's likely, though, that none of them had a wackier or better weekend than the team of 10 women who called themselves Hard Women Are Good To Find.
The team itself actually consists of just a portion of 26 Juneau women, aged from their thirties to their fifties, who train together, rain or shine, on every Saturday morning of the year.
"Sometimes we all have to put cleats on to run through the winter, but we never miss a Saturday," team member and unofficial group spokeswoman Shelly Saviers said. "We're girlfriends first, and it's our social thing. Instead of going out for drinks after work, we go out for a run."
The group won the race's women's division for a second year in a row over the weekend, despite having just nine runners ready to go as their ferry was readying to leave on Thursday. Two of the team's regular runners had pulled out with calf injuries and another received 12 stitches in her knee after a nasty fall earlier in the week.
The team had little choice but to walk one of race's legs, when a stranger from Anchorage approached Saviers as she wrapped up her final class of the week at the Juneau Racket Club. Amanda Compton, a 28-year-old from Anchorage happened to be in town for work and volunteered her legs after hearing about the group's situation.
"So just hours before we left, we picked up a marathon runner. When we got there, our ninth leg runner actually cramped up really bad. So, Amanda ran the last seven miles of that leg and then her own 12," Saviers said. "Oh, and our third leg runner only brought her two left shoes."
Despite running with a tired stranger, cramps and two left feet, the Hard Women team managed to finish the race in less than 15 hours and 36 minutes. The second-place Women on the Edge team from Anchorage finished more than 25 minutes later.
The Lady GUDiva's, a masters-division team from Juneau, actually managed to best the Hard Women's time as they won their respective title in just over 14 hours and 25 minutes. They were more than 90 minutes ahead of their nearest competition.
The local mixed masters Sole Train team picked up an additional title for the Juneau area, winning their division in just under 15 hours and 42 minutes.
Contact sports editor Trent Makela at firstname.lastname@example.org.