BONNERS FERRY — A cool, overcast day may not seem the ideal weather at the end of June to draw close to 200 people outside, but for the competitors of the annual Kootenai River Run (KRR), it was great weather. The race took place on Saturday morning, June 23.
Both the 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles) began and ended at the Boundary County Fairgrounds. Along the way, the racers passed encouraging spectators, rock and roll music with a live drummer, and the Devotion Tribal Belly Dancers.
The Kootenai River Run has a long tradition in Bonners Ferry, starting in the 1970s. The race funds scholarships for graduating high school seniors who belong to track and/or cross country. This year two scholarships were awarded, with Jordan Young and Ada Bonnell each taking home $1,000 to help pay for college.
This year 137 people of all ages took part in the KRR, from serious competitors, to those who were happy to just complete the race at a walk. Everyone encouraged one another, spending time with old friends or making new ones, during and after the race.
“We had a low number of pre-registered people, only about 40 or so, so we are really happy that we had all of these people show up on race day,” said Kootenai River Run co-director Jim Cadnum. “It’s turned out pretty well. It’s better than expected, actually.”
Sam Testa has competed 13 or 14 years in a row.
“Since I moved here,” he said. “I never don’t run this race. I have done a lot of races in my life and this is one of my favorites. They do such a good job every year and they’ve got it down to a science. The course is beautiful. It’s a great race.”
“It was a little chilly, but once you got running, you got warmed up really nicely. We had the Explorers out here today on the north and south ends of the bridge as course marshalls, so that was good,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Dave Grainger, who competed in the 10K.
For seven-year-old Katherine Baker from Coeur d’Alene, this was her first time in the KRR, although her dad had competed here several times. Her dad competed in the 10K, while Katherine tackled the 5K by herself.
“I liked that it was really long and I had a lot of good walking breaks,” she said with a smile.
“We love this run,” said her mother, Elaine Baker. “We try to do it most years.”
Race volunteer Carolyn Testa loves to run and loves to help put on the KRR every year. She met Cadnum years ago and realized how much work he was putting into the race, with little help.
“He needed more manpower,” explained Testa. “Now he has got a nice group of people. We all have our jobs to do. He is such a great manager because he leaves us alone, and lets us do our portion, and it has taken a load off of him.”
“We need that because we don’t ever want to see this race go away,” she stressed.
Darce Claus won the women’s 10K with a time of 47:59, just a fraction of a second slower than her time last year, which also had earned her the win. Micah Krmpotich won the men’s 10K with a blazing time of 39:01, also making him the overall winner of the 10K Race.
Caleb Gleason set the fastest overall time for the 5K with a time of 18:40, while Jordan Young took the overall Women 5K with a time of 21:09.
“A lot fun. I ran with Abigail Gorton and we cheered on a bunch of our teammates,” said Young. Gorton came in right behind Young, with a time 21.21, placing her first in her age class.
Interspersed throughout the awards ceremony, names were drawn out of a bucket, containing all the competitors numbers. Far North Outfitters, Mugsy’s Tavern and Grill, Hank Willis, M.D., Alicia Braden, Iron Mike’s Gym, and Bee Fit, were among the local businesses that donated raffle prizes. Claire Clemens of Clark Fork took the biggest prize, a $100 gift certificate to Sport Town.
Super 1 Foods donated fresh oranges, bananas and melons that the racers welcomed when they finished their run.
“We appreciate everyone who participated in the run and all those who helped make it a success,” said Co-Director Paul Bonnell. “See you at next year’s Kootenai River Run!”