The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame honors some of the best athletes ever produced by the state.

The Alaska Run for Women joined its ranks Thursday night during a ceremony at the Anchorage Museum.

"We are honored and we were completely surprised by this, but we're thrilled," said founding and current board member Kathy Wisthoff.

It's a well-deserved honor, according to the executive director of the state Sports Hall of Fame.

"It's an event with a cause that's powerful," said Harlow Robinson. "It's also an empowering event for females and it came at a time where it was obviously something that resonated in the community." 

The Alaska Run for Women draws women from all over Alaska for what event organizers call one of the largest all-women runs in the country. They take to the streets of Anchorage with one goal: end breast cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 470 women around Alaska will be diagnosed with it in 2019.

Last year's event raised more than $220,000, and has collected more than $4.6 million since the first Run for Women took place in 1993.

"We don't charge an entry fee, we just ask people to donate whenever they can, and we recognize every single dollar counts," Wisthoff said.

The run usually draws around 5,000 people — a major change from the 758 who participated in the first Run for Women. The growth has produced some growing pains.

"It's gotten so big that we're constantly having to evolve and change things. We have to make sure the course can hold everybody, and our venue where we start, Anchorage Football Stadium, is big enough and can hold everybody," said Wisthoff.

The 2019 Alaska Run for Women takes place June 8 at Sullivan Arena.

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