Kids take off during the Ironkids Alaska Fun Run Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School.

Kids take off during the Ironkids Alaska Fun Run Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School.

Kidding around: Hundreds partake in youth event ahead of Ironman Alaska

Despite the rain, Ironkids weren’t rusty.

Mike Baleno didn’t intend to run a mile and a half Saturday morning, but that’s exactly what happened at the Ironkids Fun Run held at Thunder Mountain High School.

Baleno of the Buffalo, New York, area visited Juneau for Ironman Alaska and found himself completing laps around the high school track with his children, 9-year-old Jimmy and 12-year-old Ali.

“It was too hard to resist,” Mike Baleno said with a grin. Plus, he said, his kids wanted him to.

The Balenos were far from the only kids to put Saturday morning cartoons on hold for a weekend. Event organizers said 356 children participated in the untimed, fun run events, which included a toddler trot, half-mile and 1-mile runs.

That total undersells the crowd that gathered at TMHS as it omits the throngs of adults who showed up to support fun-runners, volunteers who helped manage the event, race staff and University of Alaska Southeast mascot Spike the Whale, who led participants in calisthenics before their runs.

Participants included a blend of local faces like 9-year-old Austin Treston, who finished first in his group’s 1-mile run, and visiting youths whose adults were competing in Sunday’s big event, like 17-year-old Keaton Jones of Phoenix and 14-year-old Dylan Walerius of Sylvania, Ohio, who finished in first and second place respectively in their 1-mile run.

Both were first-timers to Juneau.

“It’s been nice so far,” Walerius said while catching his breath following the run. “Lots of beautiful scenery.”

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

See photos from the Ironkids Fun Run below.

The bleachers were packed Saturday morning at Thunder Mountain High School ahead of an Ironkids Alaska Fun Run event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The bleachers were packed Saturday morning at Thunder Mountain High School ahead of an Ironkids Alaska Fun Run event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

And they’re off. Children exert effort near the starting line of a fun run Saturday during the Ironkids Alaska event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

And they’re off. Children exert effort near the starting line of a fun run Saturday during the Ironkids Alaska event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Adaline Kot, 2, of Juneau beams after high-fiving UAS mascot Spike Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Adaline Kot, 2, of Juneau beams after high-fiving UAS mascot Spike Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jaelyn Jackson, 4, takes a Popsicle stick in stride Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School for the Ironkids Alaska event. The sticks allowed volunteers to keep track of who had completed their first lap around the track. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jaelyn Jackson, 4, takes a Popsicle stick in stride Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School for the Ironkids Alaska event. The sticks allowed volunteers to keep track of who had completed their first lap around the track. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Audrey Quinn Pilcher, 3, looks up at a volunteer during Saturday’s Ironkids Alaska Fun Run event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Audrey Quinn Pilcher, 3, looks up at a volunteer during Saturday’s Ironkids Alaska Fun Run event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Adults and children take to the field at Thunder Mountain High School to warm up before an Ironkids Fun Run. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Adults and children take to the field at Thunder Mountain High School to warm up before an Ironkids Fun Run. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Austin Treston, 9, of Juneau holds up an Ironkids banner after finishing a 1-mile run. Treston finished his fun run in first place. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Austin Treston, 9, of Juneau holds up an Ironkids banner after finishing a 1-mile run. Treston finished his fun run in first place. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Amber Treston gives 9-year-old Austin Treston a squeeze after the Juneau boy was the first to finish his heat in the Ironkids Fun Run event held Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. Austin credited his success to pacing. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Amber Treston gives 9-year-old Austin Treston a squeeze after the Juneau boy was the first to finish his heat in the Ironkids Fun Run event held Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. Austin credited his success to pacing. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Dylyan Walerius, 14, of Sylvania, Ohio, lowers his hand after giving a fistbump shortly after finishing a 1-mile run. Walerius, who was in town with an adult competing in Ironman Alaska, said the 1600-meter is his event in track. It was evident as Walerius finished in second place in his fun run heat. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Dylyan Walerius, 14, of Sylvania, Ohio, lowers his hand after giving a fistbump shortly after finishing a 1-mile run. Walerius, who was in town with an adult competing in Ironman Alaska, said the 1600-meter is his event in track. It was evident as Walerius finished in second place in his fun run heat. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Fun runners on Saturday make their way around the Thunder Mountain High School track during a Ironkids Alaska Fun Run event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Fun runners on Saturday make their way around the Thunder Mountain High School track during a Ironkids Alaska Fun Run event. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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