Robin Welling, a Juneau resident, sprints to the finish line to win the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon with a time of four hours, 56 minutes and 55 seconds. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Robin Welling, a Juneau resident, sprints to the finish line to win the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon with a time of four hours, 56 minutes and 55 seconds. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Runners dominate slippery trails for annual Nifty Fifty races amid rain storm

The 50K, 25K and 10K races were a success despite weather, race director says.

Saturday’s rain dampened nearly everything but the spirits of the racers and volunteers who braved the less-than-ideal weekend weather to partake in the annual Nifty Fifty 50K, 25K and 10K races.

“We probably picked the worst weather day of the summer, but it’s been pretty good given the day,” said race director Keith Levy on Saturday morning, laughing. “The weather makes it harder, but most of the runners that have already come through are smiling and seem to be having fun.”

Klas Stolpe stops at an aid station to refuel before starting the next leg of the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon. Stolpe was the second male finisher of the race with a time of five hours, 49 minutes and 58 seconds.

Klas Stolpe stops at an aid station to refuel before starting the next leg of the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon. Stolpe was the second male finisher of the race with a time of five hours, 49 minutes and 58 seconds.

While many Juneauites stayed indoors as the rain poured down, the athletes partaking in the race woke up early to compete in one of the three races. The 50K, which had 11 athletes finish, started at 7 a.m. The 25K and 10K, which had 17 and 13 finishers, respectively, started a bit later at 9 a.m.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
A dog hangs out at the end of Basin Road during the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire A dog hangs out at the end of Basin Road during the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon.

Lauren Tanel smiles as she refuels at an aid station before starting the next leg of the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon. Tanel was the second female finisher of the race with a time of six hours, one minute and 32 seconds.

Lauren Tanel smiles as she refuels at an aid station before starting the next leg of the Nifty Fifty 50K race Saturday afternoon. Tanel was the second female finisher of the race with a time of six hours, one minute and 32 seconds.

The three races started and finished at the end of Basin Road near Perseverance Trail. The 50K race included more than 5,000 feet of elevation gain via an out-and-back on the Gold Creek Flume Trail, Glacier Avenue, and Salmon Creek Trail before runners transitioned into the 25K race course which included running on Basin Road, Perseverance Trail, Red Mill Trail, the Glory Hole overlook, Granite Creek Trail, and up the Mt. Roberts Trail to the cross and back down.

The 10K race was an out-and-back on Basin Road, Perseverance Trail, Red Mill Trail, and the Glory Hole overlook.

According to Keith, one challenge that came with the rain was making sure racers didn’t get lost because the chalked markings he made the day prior on the trails were washed away by the rain. However, that didn’t seem to cause too much trouble throughout the morning thanks to the more than 20 volunteers who braved the rain to ensure racers stayed safe and on course.

A few tents were set up at the end of Basin Road to keep volunteers dry and underneath them were tables of sports drinks and snacks for the racers, including homemade cookies made by Levy’s wife.

Robin Welling, a Juneau resident, was the top finisher for the 50K, coming into the finish line in a strong sprint to end her nearly five-hour race. Not only did Welling finish first in the race this year, she is the first woman to win the 50K in the race’s history.

Welling said the race was her first time competing in a 50K race.

“It was not as bad as I anticipated,” she said standing by a fire after the race. “I think I just associate heavy rainfall with really cold fall weather, so this summer rain is much more manageable — except most of the trails turned into streams so it’s hard when you can’t see your footing.”

Clem Taylor-Roth, 22, of Juneau was the top finisher for the 25K race, finishing in just over 2 hours and 25 minutes. Despite the chilly weather, Taylor-Roth competed in just a pair of shorts. He said he preferred racing in cold rainy conditions.

“I was really glad that it was raining — this is much more fun weather than the past couple of weeks,” he said after the race. “I went to high school here and all of our high school cross-country workouts were in weather like this except, like a couple of degrees colder.”

Clem Taylor-Roth a Juneau resident, sprints to the finish line to win the Nifty Fifty 25K race Saturday afternoon with a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 17 seconds. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Clem Taylor-Roth a Juneau resident, sprints to the finish line to win the Nifty Fifty 25K race Saturday afternoon with a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes and 17 seconds. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Taylor-Roth said the race was his first time competing in a 25K race.

“I think it’s the longest race I’ve ever done,” he said. “It was a lot of fun — definitely pretty slippery — and I like to go fast on the way down so I was just being as cautious as possible.”

Race Results

Top 50K finishers

Winner — Robin Welling (Juneau) 4:56:55

Top three male division finishers

Dylan Krueger (Juneau) 5:35:33

Klas Stolpe (Juneau) 5:49:58

Brent Tingey (Juneau) 6:09:01

Top three female division finishers

Robin Welling (Juneau) 4:56:55

Lauren Tanel (Juneau) 6:01:32

Tracy Morrison (Juneau) 6:20:05

Top 25K finishers

Winner — Clem Taylor-Roth (Juneau) 2:25:17

Top three male division finishers

Clem Taylor-Roth (Juneau) 2:25:17

Brandon Ivanowicz (Juneau) 2:44:57

Alex Andrews (Juneau) 3:00:24

Top three female division finishers

Niki Kruger (Juneau) 3:25:44

Christy Gentemann (Juneau) 3:36:50

Joleen Corlis (Anchorage) 3:38:45

Top 10K finishers

Winner — Brandon Shaw (Juneau) 57:26

Top three male finishers

Brandon Shaw (Juneau) 57:26

Davis Buss (Juneau) 1:03:43

John Eldridge (Juneau) 1:23:04

Top three female division finishers

Emily Stewart (Anchorage) 1:00:24

Mindy Shaw (Juneau) 1:00:55

Jennifer Loesch (Douglas) 1:04:40

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651) 528-1807.

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