The Ballyhoo Mountain Run wrapped up last Friday, and—while no records were broken this year—according to Chris DiGiro, sports coordinator for Unalaska's Department of Parks, Culture, and Recreation, the event brought a good turnout of participants.
"It was a solid turnout in terms of people who registered," said DiGiro. "We had the same amount of people who registered this year as we had last year. So I mean, that's fantastic."
Like many events happening since March—when the coronavirus pandemic hit Alaska—the Ballyhoo Mountain Run was held virtually for the first time ever.
Participants had to record their run on a tracking app on their phones, and the race was held over a two-week period, rather than in a single day, as it had been in years past.
DiGiro said it's been a challenge advertising and getting participation numbers up for the PCR's virtual runs, but he's pleased with the amount of people who ran or hiked the Ballyhoo race. All but four of the 24 participants turned in their results, he said.
DiGiro and his team came up with unique solutions to a few of the hurtles posed by this event. Specifically, they used buoys to mark trail turnarounds—where PCR staff would normally be stationed. Participants were encouraged to sign the buoys, as they reached the turnaround points. And while no PCR staff were present to ensure no injuries occurred, DiGiro said that there were no broken limbs that he had heard of.
Despite the difficulties of coordinating a virtual event, DiGiro said he's grateful to have had the chance to give runners and hikers the opportunity to soak up the sunny days over a longer time period, rather than hoping for fair weather on a single day.
"We had a lot of good weather days for it, which is great," DiGiro said. "Part of that is that I don't have to have an in-person race one day, and I don't have to reschedule that to another day with only hours to spare between calling it off and the race time. So that was a big headache that I didn't have to deal with this year."
The fastest race time overall was in the Youth Boys category at 29 minutes and 30 seconds, followed by the Youth Girls at 30 minutes, 42 seconds. Next was the Teen Boys category, with a top time of 40 minutes and 30 seconds. The Adult Male category fastest time was 53 minutes and 16 seconds. Fastest adult female runner was close behind—clocked at 54 minutes and 24 seconds. Next was the Teen Girls category winner at 54 minutes and 25 seconds. And finally, in the category of Men Masters, the fastest runner was clocked at 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The record time of 24 minutes still stands. It was set by Ben Bolock in 2010.
Medals are available now for pick up at the Community Center front desk. All medal winners still needing to pick up their awards have been sent an email to the email address they submitted their results from.
The PCR's next race will be the Bobby Johnson Summer Bay Classic. DiGiro said a specific date has not yet been chosen, but to be on the lookout for information on the run, which is coming soon.