Massachusetts runners tie in King Salmon marathons

Westing places second in half marathon’s women’s division

Tim Irving and Avril Silverman, running partners from Waltham, Mass., tied for first place in the men’s and women’s divisions respectively of the 26.2-mile King Salmon Marathon during the Alaska Salmon Runs July 15. Both completed the course in three hours, 37 minutes and 35 seconds. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Running partners Tim Irving and Avril Silverman, of Waltham, Mass., took top honors and tied in the men’s and women’s divisions respectively in the 2017 Alaska Salmon Runs marathon July 15.

Both reached the finish line in three hours, 37 minutes and 35 seconds.

The marathon is one of several foot races that are part of the annual Copper River Salmon Jam Festival, held this year in Cordova July 14-15.

Race coordinator Kristin Carpenter said approximately 200 runners participated in the five races, including the Smolt One-Mile Fun Run/Walk, the Humpy 5K, Coho 10K, Sockeye Half-Marathon, and King Salmon Marathon.

“Nearly 80 runners traveled from the Lower 48 and other parts of Alaska, to visit Cordova and participate in our running events,” Carpenter said. “Resident Mark Irving’s brother, Tim Irving, brought a group of 14 runners from the Waltham Trail Runners group in Waltham, Mass. “

All finishing marathoners and half-marathoners received finishers’ medals. Place awards were presented to the top three male and female finishers in each event during the barbecue dinner on Mt. Eyak, July 15.

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Tim Irving said that after completing the Boston Marathon this year, he decided to do the Alaska Salmon Runs’ King Salmon Marathon.

“I’ve looked at this race for about 10 years. I haven’t been in marathon shape before, but since I ran in the Boston, I decided to come to Alaska and run this one.”

The Cordova marathon course was much different than that trod by over 30,000 people in the Boston Marathon, said Tim Irving. “The course was so flat, and so straight. There’s no way to get lost on the road,” he said.

“The gravel road during the first 15 miles of the route was a little tough, a little harder than I thought it was going to be. There were no expectations of the race. We knew it was very small compared to Boston’s (marathon), and it was a fun race in a small town. We really wanted that experience,” he said.

The Waltham Trail Runners group is 150-members strong, he said. The folks back home who couldn’t make the Cordova trip received live updates during their friends’ races.

“A lot of people in Waltham were very, very jealous, and we’ll probably have a contingency up here either next year, or the following year. We were in Cordova for four days. We had a great time hiking with Robin Irving out at Sheridan Glacier, and we took a trip to Child’s Glacier with Jack and Cheri Stevenson, that was fantastic. We spent a lot of money on Copper River Fleece, I think everyone (in the group) got something there,” he said.

Local competitors also fared well in the races, many finishing in the top three, Carpenter said.

“Alana Esguerra is 13-years-old and was the first woman to finish in the 5K! Ria Smyke, the second woman to finish the 5K, is 15, and Ameelia Hamberger, who placed third in the 5K, is also 13,” Carpenter said.

Luca Adelfio placed third in the Sockeye Half-Marathon, and Charlotte Westing took second place in the half-marathon’s women’s division.  Zach Hamberger and Andrew Neilson took first and second place respectively in the Coho 10K event. Jem Pedicord  took second place, and Jacob Hamberger, third place in the Humpy 5K race. Trevor Dundas, Teagan O’Rourke and Trent Dundas, placed first, second and third respectively in the men’s division in the one-mile run/walk, and Carol Maxcy and Elizabeth Baenen took first and third places, respectively, in the one-mile event.

Tin Pham, of Chapel Hill, N.C., who placed second in the King Salmon Marathon, told Carpenter in an email “it was an excellent race. I really enjoyed the volunteers, course, and the area. Good job on putting together a great event.”

John O’Neil, 62, visiting from New Albany, Ind., completed his quest to run a marathon in each of the 50 states, finishing the marathon in Cordova with a time of 5 hours, 17 minutes.

Resident Krysta Williams and her daughters, Adelaide and Lorelai Botz, ran in the Smolt One-Mile Fun Run/Walk.

“I think it’s amazing that you can – even if I can’t, yet – run a marathon right here, and people come from around the world to do so. I’ve always enjoyed running and this is a great way to share that with my daughters in a way that’s fun for them, too,” Williams said.

“The Alaska Salmon Runs are only possible because of the volunteer efforts of about 40 people who help put on the event — water stations, registration, finish timers, set-up and cleanup, baked goods for runners. Thanks to all who contributed to host our out of town runners,” Carpenter said.

2017 Alaska Salmon Runs results 

King Salmon Marathon, 26.2 miles

Men: First place – Tim Irving, Waltham, Mass., 3:37:35; second place – Tin Pham, Chapel Hill, N.C., 3:51:38; third place – Frank Fan, San Diego, Calif., 3:56:41.

Women: First place – Avril Silverman, Waltham, Mass., 3:37:35; second place – Elizabeth Gentes, Waltham, Mass., 3:50:12; Lisa Fratt, Waltham, Mass., 4:06:09.

Sockeye Half-Marathon, 13.1 miles

Men: First place – Van Standifer, Eagle River, 1:37:11; second place – Warren Clifton, Lynn Haven Fla., 1:47:42; third place – Luca Adelfio, Cordova, 1:51:12.

Women: First place – Staci Griswold, Anchorage, 1:52:03; second place – Charlotte Westing, Cordova, 1:52:03; third place – Anne Branshaw, Valdez, 1:58:03.

Coho 10K, 6.2 miles

Men: First place – Zach Hamberger, Cordova, 0:37:14; second place – Andrew Neilson, Cordova, 0:37:44; third place – Gabriel Low, Hilo, Hawaii, 0:41:25.

Women: First place – Kirsten Moore, Anchorage, 0:46:02; second place – Sonia Ritzman, Doylestown, Pa., 0:47:06; third place – Karin McGillivray, Anchorage, 0:48:23.

Humpy 5K, 3.1 miles

Men: First place – Rich Wheeler, Ardenvoir, Wash., 0:22:45; second place – Jem Pedicord, Cordova and Denver Colo., 0:24:03; third place – Jacob Hamberger, Cordova, 0:24:07.

Women: First place – Alana Esguerra, Cordova, 0:25:06; second place – Ria Smyke, Cordova, 0:25:57; third place – Ameelia Hamberger, Cordova, 0:26:25.

One Mile Smolt Fun Run/Walk

Men: First place – Trevor Dundas, Cordova, 00:06:46:39; second place – Teagan O’Rourke, Cordova, 00:08:10:30; third place – Trent Dundas, Cordova, 00:08:45:10.

Women: First place – Carol Maxcy, Cordova, 00:08:25:50; second place – Vansee Wheeler, Ardenvoir Wash., 00:09:18:50; third place – Elizabeth Baenen, Cordova, 00:09:41:20.

Click here for a complete list of The King Salmon Marathon results

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson
Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.