Thousands take part in Alaska Run for Women
More than 5,300 people participated in Saturday morning's 26th annual Alaska Run for Women, one of the charitable event's largest-ever turnouts.
The run, which helps raise money to fight cancer, also honors those who have fought the disease and survived -- as well as remembering those who have been lost to it.
Saturday's event included three separate categories: a 1-mile walk, a 5-mile competitive run and a separate 5-mile walk/run.
Former Olympic Nordic skier Rosie Brennan won the competitive race with a time of 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Anna Dalton finished second, with a time of 27:35.
Two-time Olympian Sadie Bjornsen was on hand to help send off runners and walkers at the event.
Alaska Run for Women started in 1993 with 738 runners, seeing a steady rise in the numbers of runners. In 2010 the event had over 7,300 participants signed up for the event.
"That was fantastic," said board member Kathy Wistoff. "After that, when the economy went down, our participation dropped down to 4,000 and now we are over 5,300."
Kathy's husband and fellow board member Jay, has volunteered and had a hand in all 26 events. Jay lost his mother and an aunt to breast cancer. A year and a half ago, Jay was diagnosed with brain cancer.
"When this came up, my sickness, I just felt like I had to step up to this place," Jay Wistoff said. "This is what I have been doing and where I needed to be."
Kathy felt she needed to do something to honor Jay for all of his year's and his battle with cancer.
"I named our team the Jazzy Jaywalkers," Kathy said. "That's after my husband Jay. 150 people signed up on his team! Now these Jazzy Jaywalker shirts are all over the place."
Stories like Jay's and Kathy's are shared throughout the race.
"I am running in memory of my mom Katherine Kaplan and also my mother in law Norma Rourick," Canver Survivor Cheryl Rourick said. "Both passed due to breast cancer and then I am the first family survivor. I've been coming here for the past seven years."
People who haven't lost anyone or fought the battle against cancer, know someone who has.
"I'm on the team Crow's for a Cause," said Anna Dalton. "It's organized by Mary Ann Renkert who is a survivor and trains with my running group here, the Alaska Endurance Project. Go Mary Ann! Survivor is the wrong word to describe her, she super active, tough and amazing."
Alaska Run for Women is one of the most visible running events in the state, the run is also one of the largest all-women runs in the country.
Since 1993, $4.4 million in cash and donated mammograms has been generated by the event – all of which has been distributed to organizations associated with breast cancer.
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