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PUBLISHED: 5:46 PM on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Running from bay to breakers in Yakutat
Almost three decades ago, a group of teachers in Yakutat got together and decided to enjoy a run from Monti Bay to the beach. This year the Bay to Breakers Run, now in its 29th year, is being dedicated, appropriately, to teachers.

"A gal from Anchorage came down to Yakutat who was friends with some teachers here in town, and together they started the race," said Karen Elton, Parks and Recreaction coordinator for the City and Borough of Yakutat.

"Since then, we've usually had between 20 and 50 locals take part in the race each year, though it's open to anyone who wants to participate."

The race, which will begin at noon May 28, features a 10K run as well as walking and 'wheeling' divisions. The event starts in town and ends at the beach with prizes and a barbecue.

"The race is pretty unique in that it goes along our highway, which is really a two-lane paved road, and then goes off-road to Cannon Beach," Elton said. "It's really a picturesque run-Yakutat is a beautiful little place."

In addition to its one-of-a-kind beach, which attracts numerous Southeast surfers, Yakutat also is home to the St. Elias mountain range, the Malaspina and Hubbard Glaciers, and more than 100,000 shorebirds, including Trumpeter Swans, geese and ducks.

"Mount St. Elias is the second tallest mountain in Alaska at 18,008 feet," Elton said.

"On a clear day, you can also see Mt. Fairweather, as well as all of the other smaller mountains that circle around to end at St. Elias."

Kathy Jacobson and her twin sister, Suzie Silvernail, run in the Bay to Breakers event every year.

"I started in 1983, and each year, I look forward to it," Jacobson said.

"There's beautiful scenery going from the bay to the breakers, and it's also just a really friendly experience. There aren't big prizes for winning, but it's definitely a really satisfying feeling."

Jacobson and her sister also are using the Bay to Breakers race as a training ground for next month, when they are traveling to Nashville, Tenn. to participate in a half-marathon.

"At 6.2 miles, the Bay to Breakers race is great training for the 13.2 race we'll be running in Nashville," Jacobson said.

This year, runners in the race and the town of Yakutat are hoping that people from outside the borough decide to visit the town over Memorial Day and take part in the annual event.

"It would be really nice if people wanted to come stay a few days and enjoy some of the things that Yakutat has to offer," Elton said.

"For any runners who are interested in trails, we have 23 miles of Tongass National Forest Trails, as well as shorter trails in town."

For more information on Yakutat, visit www.yakutat.net. For more information on the race or to pre-register, send an e-mail to parksntrails@yahoo.com or call (907) 784-3341. The entry fee is $10.


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