by Rebecca Palsha and Charlie Sokaitis
June 12, 2010
More than 7,000 people laced up their running shoes at the Sullivan Arena Saturday for the Alaska Run for Women. The one-mile or five-mile run's record turnout surpassed its more than 6,000 participants last year.
Race organizers pushed to get a record crowd this year, launching a "Bring a Friend in 2010" campaign and spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to the high overall turnout Saturday, organizers say they also had 385 breast cancer survivors register this year -- another record-breaker.
The current tally for online donations is more than $158,000, not counting sponsorships or merchandise sales. Since the race began in 1993, it has raised more than $2.5 million for breast cancer research, prevention and treatment, including providing mammograms for women who can't afford them.
"The good thing is that they've got lots of support and lots of camaraderie out there," said race director Missy Anderson. "The bad thing is that breast cancer still exists, and we need to get the word out about a cure for it and more research."
"It's a great cause," said the race's official starter, 2010 Olympic Ski Team member Holly Brooks. "It's wonderful to get over 7,000 Alaskan women out here for breast cancer awareness. I think the statistic is breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women, and so it's a really good sign of support for the community."
Kelsey Jones moved through the five-mile run with some serious speed, winning with an unofficial time of 28 minutes, 22 seconds. For Jones, participating in Saturday's race was about more than just competition -- it was about coming home.
"So I grew up here -- I was born and raised in Seward, and I live in Denver, Colorado now," Jones said. "And my mom runs this race every year, and I just really wanted to get up here and support a lot of my friends and family that are struggling or recovering from breast cancer. And it's just such an amazing event, I really wanted to be part of it, so I flew up this summer just kind of for this."
"My friend, she died about six months ago, she's my college buddy," said race participant Kristi Waythomas. "And so, I was running for her today. I love this race, I'd do it regardless, but today I was thinking about her."
Organizers of the event are already thinking ahead to next year. Their goal for 2011 is to see 10,000 participants.
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV