Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 5:22 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nearly 200 runners participate in 37th annual Homer Spit Run

BY Hal Spence
For the Homer News

See Spit Run photos on Spotted®



Under a bright sun in a cloudless sky, a warm tailwind urged Anchorage runner Jake Moe to an easy victory Saturday in the 37th Annual Spit Run. He completed the 10-kilomter event in 33 minutes 23 seconds.

Russell, Kan., resident Shanda Kilian, 26, took first-place honors among women, finishing in 42:56.

Moe, 27, bested second-place finisher Tux Seims by better than four minutes. Seims crossed the line with a time of 37:29. Kilian nearly matched that margin among women, topping second-place finisher Elizabeth Koedl by nearly three-and-a-half minutes. Koedl's time was 46:24.

One hundred ninety-two runners registered for the event, according to race officials, and 185 of those left the Homer High School parking lot start line at 10 a.m., following the course down Ben Walters Lane to the highway and across the Beluga Slough Bridge, along Lake Street and out the Homer Spit to Land's End.

The day was marked by memories and milestones.

Racers and spectators honored 90-year-old John Chapple Jr. with a moment of silence just before the start. Chapple who, along with several generations of his family, has run in the race for many years, died early Saturday. He had turned 90 on June 5. (See related story, page 3.)

Along with his own bib number, his son 64-year-old John Chapple III (1.03:41) wore the numbered bib his father wore in his last event, the Shorebird Festival's 5K Migration Run in May. The elder Chapple's 13-year-old great-granddaughter Megan Pitzman (50:46) wore atop her own bib the bib he would have worn Saturday. According to son John's recollection, his father had missed only three of the 37 Spit Run events.

Meanwhile, Ralph Broches, 67, of Homer, competed in his 36th straight Spit Run, having missed the very first in 1975. He clocked in at 53:02.

Moe, an employee of Municipal Light and Power in Anchorage and a track and cross country running coach at Anchorage Christian School, said that although it was a bit hot for the run, "I'm not going to complain. We don't get enough hot days."

Moe's wife, Brynn, and brother, Jesse Moe, also competed Saturday.

On a vacation in Alaska from Russell, Kan., where she is a restaurateur, Kilian said her participation was serendipitous.

"I saw the sign and signed up," she said, as she caught her breath shortly after crossing the line.

Moe and Kilian each won $100 Homer Saw and Cycle gift certificates, provided by race co-sponsor South Peninsula Hospital.

Race organizer Mike Illg, coordinator of the Homer Community Recreation Program, which also co-sponsored the race, said the conditions were perfect and that he was pleased with the turnout.

Race day faced a few challenges, however. A cruise ship arrival added to the traffic on the Spit and the popular Mayor's Marathon event was taking place in Anchorage.

"We had to go with the date that worked down here," Illg said.

The Spit Run typically attracts several Anchorage-area runners, and though the race included eight Anchorage competitors, many who might otherwise have attended were thought to have remained in Anchorage for the mayor's race.

Illg said he was glad to be a part of the Spit Run event and thanked city officials and others who helped to make the race safe.

The Kachemak Bay Running Club and the Homer News also co-sponsored the run. Proceeds from entry fees and donations will go to help fund Homer High School's track and field and cross country running programs.

Spokeswoman Derotha Ferraro said South Peninsula Hospital has been involved in race organizing since at least the late 1990s.

"Promoting community health and wellness is part of the hospital's mission statement," she said. "The Spit Run supports the hospital's mission and is a priority of our MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership) community health improvement plan."

According to Ferraro, a dozen runners from Outside participated, representing Oregon, Florida, Virginia, Washington, California, North Carolina, Kansas and Japan. The rest were from various parts of Alaska, including 114 from Homer.

See Spit Run photos on Spotted®


Hal Spence is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.