PUBLISHED: 2:31 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Only Fools Run at Midnight races to its 23rd year
Crazy costumes, prizes and late-night exercise-nothing could more fun than the 23rd annual Only Fools Run at Midnight race, and it's not a Halloween party. The race simultaneously takes places at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. Involving the community and raising money for Southeast Alaska Independent Living, the race is a great cause.

"Six-hundred folks last year showed up; we'd love to break that number this year," said Juneau's race director Tristan Knutson-Lombardo.

Last year the three SAIL offices raised $31,814.

Courtesy photo
  Crazy costumes are featured in the 23rd annual Only Fools Run at Midnight race expect. This year's race takes places at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, June 30, in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.
By popular demand, a glow in the dark T-shirt is included in the registration. Registration will be available race night; however, SAIL recommends registering sooner than later. Family registration is limited to folks that are actual family members, SAIL said.

"We're a little behind but they'll pick up; the last week we're slammed," said SAIL specialist Sarah Bosma concerning registration.

"Every year we have people show up race night to register, and they are seriously disappointed to not get a T-shirt. Come down early for the costume judging-it's an absolute hoot!" Bosma said.

This year the shirt design is by Alex Romero. For Juneau, the first 500 to pre-register will get a T-shirt. For Sitka, the first 180 and in Ketchikan, the first 150 to pre-register. The Ketchikan event will also be a pledge drive.

In Juneau, the race ends and begins at Centennial Hall; in Sitka, the race begins and ends at Fire Hall and in Ketchikan, the race starts and finishes at the Discovery Center.

Community residents can walk, run or roll for five kilometers or one mile dressed in wild and creative costumes. In Juneau, police shut down Willoughby Avenue for the beginning of the race.

"Usually, the last finishers come in at around 12:45 a.m. or so; right after that we try to do awards right away, because we know it's getting late," said Kuntson-Lombardo.

Prizes will be given to best costumes including centipedes, which are five or more participants connected in some way throughout the race. Prizes are given mainly for costume designs; the top three race finishers in each division will be given an award.

Past costumes have been wildly eclectic such as the Alaska coach drivers who all ran in diapers, the "Dirty Six-Pack" and the Dipac crew who ran the course backward as spawning salmon. Other centipedes included a river rafting tour, a wedding party and a sled dog team.

Contestants will gather at the beginning race establishment, with costume judging taking place from 11 to 11:30 p.m.

Prizes include everything from a 10-pound bar of chocolate donated by the Alaska Fudge Company; a flightseeing tour to the Taku Glacier Lodge from Wings Airways; two roundtrip tickets to Gustavus from Air Excursions; a wildlife sari by Gastineau Guiding and more.

"They're fun things locally that most people don't get to do," Knutson-Lombardo said.

Another fun prize that will also be available for sale are Krispy Kreme donuts, shipped from Seattle.

This year, the race will feature a one-mile wheelchair race. A huge success in Juneau last year, the wheelchair race is open to people with and without disabilities.

"We have wheelchairs for folks to borrow; it's really a lot harder than it looks," Bosma said. "We've had hand cycles and wheelchairs on the course in the past; we welcome scooters and power wheelchairs in accommodation for disabilities."

Loaner wheelchairs are available as an accommodation with a one-week notice.

The Run is in its fifth year as a SAIL fundraiser and has been going strong for 23 years; the race was formerly a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The race is sponsored by Holland America Line. SAIL offers services for persons with disabilities and seniors including peer support, advocacy, benefit specialists and more.

"It gives us an opportunity to get out there in the community. We're one of those service providers unless you or someone you know has a disability, you have no idea that we exist. We offer information and referral, quite often someone in the middle of their lives will all of a sudden have an accident and become disabled; they don't know how to make their life work for them again," Bosma said.

Questions on topics such as transportation, health care needs and house accessibilities are answered by SAIL. The organization also includes the program, Outdoor Recreation and Community Access, which gives people opportunities to get outdoors.

"A lot of what we do is educating people in the community. We're trying to erase words such as 'handicapped,' which has a negative connotation. They're still people, they're still part of the community and they can do everything they want-just with modifications," she said.

Juneau registration is available at the SAIL office at 3225 Hospital Drive Suite 300, either JRC/THE Alaska Club location. For more information on Sitka, Ketchikan or Juneau registration go online to