30th Annual Hope Wagon Road Run
By SK Malone
For the last 30 years, Hope has been holding an annual Wagon Run down a dirt road that at one time was used for hauling mining supplies up to parts of Resurrection Creek. It is always one of the biggest events during the year, with people coming from all over to participate and experience this run and its festivities.
The usually quiet Main Street in downtown Hope is packed with visitors and locals. Vehicles line the streets from downtown to Tito’s Discovery Cafe located along the Hope Highway and Old Hope Road.
It all starts on Saturday with a scrumptious pancake breakfast, where people sit and converse at long tables lined in the middle of the historic Hope Social Hall. Breakfast consists of three kinds of pancakes (berry, chocolate chip and regular), reindeer sausage, and cantaloupe melons. Every year breakfast is made by a wonderful group of volunteers.
“Breakfast was highly edible,” said Wild Bill How.
Volunteers expressed how they liked serving the breakfast.
“Just loving it,” said Joe Passino, “love seeing all the people, seeing all the kids. Everyone is so polite and friendly.”
The proceeds from the breakfast and the Wagon Run events go to local nonprofits: Fire/Ems Department, Hope Library, Hope School Parent-Teacher Association, Hope and Sunrise Historical Museum, Hope Chamber of Commerce and Hope Inc.
During the afternoon on Saturday at 3 p.m., there was a cake walk for anyone who wanted to participate. Scrumptious cakes, cookies and muffins were up for grabs if your number was lucky. The Social Hall was packed full of people vying for these decadent morsels or cheering on hopeful contestants.
Sunday is the day of the big event. Racers’ registration started at 9 a.m., and a bake sale at 9:30. The race began at 11 a.m. It was a 3.5-mile cross country run starting and ending on Main Street in downtown. Runners of all ages participated in this race, the youngest children and babies often running either with their parents, being carried or pushed in strollers.
The streets are lined with supporters cheering on the competitors. At the Methodist Retreat center located across from the library, the American Auto Association had their classic autos on display. As they sat next to their beautiful vehicles, they cheered and applauded the racers as they ran past. For twenty years or more this amazing group of people from the AAA has been coming to Hope to support our community and the Wagon Run event. For many community members seeing these beautiful cars are one of the highlights of the weekend.
“It was really fun,” said Shaylee Peterson. “I would like to do it again next year. The trail was pretty good, although it was a little muddy and lots of puddles.”
“This was my second year running it and its one of my favorites,” said Jon Dykstra. “Most of the course is consistent of trail runs; puddles, rocks, roots, etcetra, but nothing too extreme. I would recommend it to anyone, especially anyone looking for anything a little different than an average 5k (also worth noting it’s a little longer). It is really reasonably priced, for a great cause and awesome T-shirts”
This year’s overall race results for the men were: 1st – Sam Tilly 18:12, 2nd – Jim Shine, 19:20. 3rd – Christopher Clark 19:38.
Overall Women’s results were:1st – Denali Strabel 20:50, 2nd – Jessica Pahkala, 22:23, 3rd – Crystal-Ann Berwick 22:44.
After the race is the annual barbecue and raffle, which many look forward too as much as the race. The barbecue is delicious and prepared by awesome volunteers. It usually consists of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken burgers or foot-long hot dogs, served with chips and carrots.
The raffle generally has many prizes available for grabs, donated by various individuals and businesses from around Hope. Items donated include stays at Hope Bed and Breakfasts, gift cards to stores in Anchorage and local businesses, trips with adventure companies located in Hope, and the most coveted prize a beautiful stained glass patchwork quilt. Fayrene Sherritt, Linda Graham and Tanya Cunningham worked very hard on this magnificent quilt then donated it to the Wagon Run Raffle every year.
A very big thank you to Emergency Medical Responders Travis Peterson and Calvin Walton for manning the ambulance and providing aid to the racers in need. Furthermore, to all of the volunteers who helped with all the events and everything needed to make this race a success. To the runners, a big thank you as well without you there would be no race. Everyone did a magnificent job.