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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.