Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

100+ runners unite to chase breast cancer out of Homer

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

A group of black-clad runners lead the sea of pink at the start of the 2011 Breast Cancer Run on Beluga Place last Sunday. The "gutsiest costume" award-winner, Mikela Aramburu, is in the swimsuit at right.

Sunday was another all-around beautiful day for the annual Breast Cancer Run.

More than 100 men and women, young and old, ran the 5-mile course from Bishop's Beach, along Pioneer Avenue, down Lake Street and over Beluga Slough, along Ocean Drive to Lakeshore and then back along the Sterling Highway before taking the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center trail to the beach.

At least 20 more walked a mile-long route for the cause — access to preventative care and treatment services for breast cancer — and the women who have fought the disease. Bundles of pink balloons and more than 30 volunteers posted along the route made a notable display of support.

"(It is) fun 'cause you get to go through town and people are honking and supportive," said four-time runner Erika Gavenus of the course.

Sponsored by Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, the 17th annual run raised more than $10,000 for breast health screening programs and diagnostic care.

"It was a great success. We had excellent weather, we had great enthusiastic runners, we had happy and willing volunteers, a lot of positive energy, the honor cake went really well, the fans were awesome. There was excellence all around," said KBFPC director Michelle Waneka.

Cancer survivor Diann Martin raised the most money, followed by Diana Conway.

Eighteen-year-old Joseph Carey of New Hampshire ran the fastest 5 mile in 28 minutes, 13.5 seconds. The fastest female finisher was Cassidy Soistman, a 15-year-old member of the Mariner cross-country running team who finished the course in 37:31.5.

Mikela Aramburu won the "gutsiest costume" award with a pink and gray swimsuit-over-sweats ensemble and more than 20 other participants walked away with prizes donated by local businesses.

Waneka said the local support enables the clinic to make a difference in the breast health of Homer women.

"The money stays local to help local residents," she said.

The pink flags on the chocolate cake testified to the number of people touched one way or another by breast cancer.

"It's an honor cake to help us not forget why we're doing this. It's really fun, it's really celebratory, but the reason we're doing it is we really would love to run breast cancer out of Homer," Waneka said.