Mouth to Mouth race to run throughout June

Jun 8, 2021

Bikers take off from the north Kasilof River beach during Cook Inletkeeper's annual Mouth to Mouth race.
Credit Cook Inletkeeper

It’s been a late spring, but the sun is finally peeking out and people are getting more out to participate in runs and other events. The pandemic has lessened, which means those events are getting more back to normal.

Last year, Cook Inletkeeper’s Mouth to Mouth race was entirely virtual, with racers taking their times on any day they could throughout a time period and submitting them to be tabulated. This year, they still have that option, but Inletkeeper also hosted a kick-off race in person on June 1. Kaitlin Vadla, who works with Inletkeeper in Soldotna, is coordinating the race with outreach coordinator Dan Knight.

"It was small but mighty," she said. "It was monsooning in Soldotna, and I think that deterred folks. We had a handful of bikers and a handful of runners and some dogs, and we had beer from KRB and some goods from Where It's At and The Goods. It was really nice; it was community-oriented fun."

Mouth to Mouth is an annual fundraiser for Cook Inletkeeper, which takes runners and bikers on a 10-mile course from the north Kasilof Beach to the south Kenai Beach. With the virtual format, they can run, bike, or walk along that course or any other 10-mile stretch of beach. There’s also a three-mile option, which follows the same rules.

There are the usual prizes, including custom art for the event and glass winners’ cups from Raven Earth and Glass Works. Though the kick-off event was small, Vadla says people have been running into each other on the course anyway, despite the virtual nature of it.

"Even though we had it for the whole month last year as well,I think most folks did it on the day-- they did it on Memorial Day," she said. "Because they're like, 'This is what we do on Memorial Day. We go out to the beach and we run with our friends and our community. We have campfires and beers and cookies about it.'"

One new aspect of it this year is addition of a fundraiser portion. Participants can now raise money and apply it to support Inletkeeper in advance of racing. Entries are $35 for adults and $25 for youth 13 and younger. Vadla says there’s a wide variety of competition levels—some people are competitive enough to enter another time after their first, trying to maintain their spot on the leaderboard. Each additional entry time is $5.

You can find more information about the Mouth to Mouth race or sign up on Inletkeeper.org.

The Mouth to Mouth isn’t the only fundraiser run coming up. The Kenai Watershed Forum’s annual Run for the River 5K and 10-mile is scheduled for this Saturday in Soldotna Creek Park, and the Salmon Run Series 5Ks at Tsalteshi Trails are scheduled to begin July 7. Out north, the Nikiski Recreation Service Area plans to host its annual Fun in the Midnight Sun event on June 19, with a 5K race starting at 10 a.m.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabethearl@gmail.com.