Hittin' the highway for a cause; About 50 turn out for trek from Klukwan to Haines
When her hips started hurting about 14 miles into Saturday’s Chilkat River Walk, Phyllis Viche said she thought about the pain suffered by those she knew who suffered from cancer.
"People go through a lot and all we’re doing is walking. It made me think," said Viche, the last walker to finish the 22-mile trek and fund-raiser. "Besides, people stopped driving by, asking me how I was doing."
Viche, 47, said her previous longest walk was about six miles. "Do you want to see the bottoms of my feet? It is not pretty."
Viche was joined by about 50 others participating in the fourth annual walk. The event raised more than $700 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund and Hospice of Haines travel fund.
Kaitlyn Stevens, 13, of Klukwan said she had no trouble making the whole distance a second year in a row. She didn’t train for the event, or wear special shoes and she took about two hours off her walking time last year.
"It felt pretty good," said Stevens, who plays basketball, rides her bike and walks a fair amount around the village. "I got a lot of congratulations."
Ralph Borders, 58, who made the walk three previous years, ran the distance as part of his training for a marathon later this year, alongside marathoners Les and Kelly Hostetler and Marnie Hartman.
Borders, who has been running up to 18 miles at a time, said having company made the miles slip by. "Because you’re in a group, laughing and talking, it goes that much faster," Borders said. "I just did it for the exercise. I didn’t wear a pink scarf on my head like Les did."
Event organizer Pam Sloper, women’s health coordinator for Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, said the event will be held again next year, possibly on a different date.
Conflicting events, including a well-attended ballet recital Saturday, may have cut into participation, she said. "We’re kind of down in participation this year… We’re going to have to watch next year and make sure we’re not on that same weekend."
Sloper said she was impressed by the numbers of walkers who went the whole distance, including children. "I think they thought there was free pizza at the end. It inspired them."
Sloper, who participated in the event for the first time, made it from Klukwan to 14 Mile, about eight miles. She said she was done in by blisters on the bottoms of her feet.