OSKAR - Saturday was a day for runners. While hundreds of high school track and field athletes traveled to Kingsford to compete in U.P. Finals, hundreds of local runners from ages 12 to 66 participated in the Breakers to Bay 5-mile Road Race to benefit maintenance and upkeep of a local ice rink.
Collectively, 205 participants ran or walked in the fourth annual Breakers to Bay race, which, combined with a spaghetti dinner Friday night, raised about $5,000 for the KennerDome, a community rink in Oskar Bay.
"We're thrilled with the turnout this year and thankful to everyone in the community, and we're thrilled with what we're able to do with the KennerDome," said race organizer Shelley Farrey, one of 40 volunteers who work to put on the race every year.
Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette
Jonathan Kilpela from Atlantic Mine celebrates as he crosses the finish line in first place of Saturday morning’s Breakers to Bay 5-mile Road Race in Oskar Bay. He finished in 28 minutes, 57 seconds.
Overcast skies and 60-degree temperatures created perfect conditions for the largest field yet in the annual race, which is the first major competitive race for local runners.
Jonathan Kilpela, who is used to competitive running in track and field and cross country for Michigan Technological University, won the race in 28 minutes, 57 seconds, nearly two minutes ahead of second-place finisher Troy Kinnunen-Skidmore (30:46).
"I like racing these community races because college racing is so serious and competitive and there's a lot of pressure. It's nice to have a community race, have some fun and run for the sake of running," said the 20-year-old from Atlantic Mine. "The truth is I didn't have any goals coming in because I wasn't sure how I'd feel. I just thought I'd go out there at a good tempo and see where I was at and go from there. ... I saw I was in first place so I might as well go for a good time, too."
Like many competitors, Kilpela used the Breakers to Bay race as preparation for the 2012 Canal Run, which includes 10- and 5-mile events.
While Ann Hoover isn't sure if she'll compete in the July 21 Canal Run yet, her first time competing in the Breakers to Bay turned out well for the soon-to-be 40-year-old from Hancock.
Hoover finished first among a field of 78 female runners in a time of 34 minutes, 33 seconds.
"I think everybody who races wants to win," Hoover said. "My friend Amy Roberts, who was hit by a car last year, she would have been the winner in this race, and she's the one who made me run like her today. That was my main goal, to run like Amy Roberts, run like the Finn. She was my motivation today."
While 129 participants ran the 5 miles from the Houghton Breakers to the KennerDome, 76 walked the road course. Only one finished in less than an hour: Kathy Marino (59 minutes, 22 seconds).
"It's a good start to the walking, running season for people who do these things, and it's for a good cause," Marino said. "I live out here so it's close to home. Weather was great - not too hot, no sun. It was perfect."
Organizers are hoping to use the proceeds from the race to buy a new hose reel and flooding system for the rink, which has added a new entrance, locker room and players' benches in previous years. Next year, the race will likely use chip timing and be on the weekend after U.P. Finals.
"We are contemplating next year pushing the race back a week ... and we were hoping if we hit over 200 that would be our goal to go to chip timing, so next year we hope to be back with (computerized) chip timing and growing a little bigger," Farrey said.
For more information, including full race results, visit breakerstobay.net.