Senior Center success

Inaugural 5-K race/festival a welcome addition


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Participants in the Kickin’ Asphalt in Eagle River 5K run by the McDonald Center at the star of the race June 13. About 250 people participated in the inaugural event.

MIKE NESPER

The asphalt was kicked — thoroughly.

About 250 people, mostly locals, turned out for the inaugural “Kickin’ Asphalt in Eagle River” 5-kilometer run on a hot, sunny evening June 13.

“We’ve had tremendous response and support from the community,” said Linda Hendrickson, Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center executive director. “We’re very happy with the turnout.”

The event, which included a comedy show, raised more than $21,000 for the Senior Center, said operations director Melissa Howlett.

“Every cent goes into the center,” Hendrickson said.

The festival-like event also included vendor booths, a kids’ play area, food and a post-race barbecue.

Fifty-nine-year-old Bob Davis, of Peters Creek, won the race in 20 minutes, 29 seconds — more than 21 seconds ahead of Caleb Laird in second.

The course — which started at the McDonald Center, went around Fire Lake and finished back at the Mac — was difficult, he said.

“There’s hardly anything flat on it,” Davis said. “It’s brutal.”

The route not only tested runners’ endurance, but also their minds, Davis said.

“There’s a lot more strategy on a course like this,” he said.

The race was Julie Metzger’s first since 2011. The two-year hiatus didn’t matter much.

Metzger, an Eagle River High physical education teacher, was the top female runner with a time of 22:18. She said she enjoyed the challenge the hilly course offered.

Metzger, 42, edged a potential student of hers, 13-year-old Peyton Young, by seven seconds. Young, an incoming ERHS freshman, said the race was exhausting.

Young, who competes in several summer runs throughout the Anchorage area, said she was glad a 5K was added to Eagle River.

Davis agreed.

“Eagle River is a good running community,” he said. “We need more races out here.”

That’s just what Hendrickson wants. She said the Senior Center is planning to continue the event next year and hopes to make it an annual race.

Davis said he’d like to see the field of runners grow for next year.

“I hope word gets out on this,” he said.

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