Last Dance

Sitka Fine Arts Camp elementary age campers dance with instructor Brendan Jones in their final day of camp today at the Sheldon Jackson College Campus. Middle School Camp, for grades seven thru nine, begins Monday. Registration is still open at 907-747-3085. (Sentinel Photo by Klas Stolpe)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Sitkans Young and Old Race In Julie Hughes Triathlon

By GARLAND KENNEDY

Sentinel Sports Editor

Racing in cool, overcast conditions, about 50 Sitkans of all ages ran, biked and swam in the 39th annual Julie Hughes Triathlon, Saturday.

While most of the participants were adults, many were children, racing both individually and in relay teams on both the long and short course of the traditional event.

It’s one of the longest continuously running triathlons in the country, and one of the highlights this year, said organizer Kevin Knox, was the number of kids who geared up for the race.

“The kids are really fun and, really, in the end, the kids are why we do this event, right? It’s in memory of a kid and it’s kind of all about pursuing dreams… The kids did great from a performance aspect - kids truly challenging themselves,” Knox said on Monday. “I got several calls in the days leading up to the event, from parents, or talking with kids at the pool who were really on the fence of whether or not they were going to do the event at all… And then they all kind of rallied.”

In total, 22 kids 12 and under competed, along with four more in the 13- to 18-year old category.

Not only did many Sitka kids participate, top Baranof Barracudas swimmer Zach Martens, just 13 years old, outdid all the adults on the long course, taking first place in just 1:25:49 against a field of older, more experienced athletes.

Zach Martens, 13, poses with the Julie Hughes Triathlon trophy, Saturday, after winning the race by a 12-minute margin. (Photo provided by Kevin Knox)

While the course has shifted over the years, preventing precise record keeping, Knox said Martens was close to the course record.

“This year he’s just been killing it in everything he does. And we’re not absolutely positive, we don’t know exactly where he landed on the course record time, but we’re quite certain he was very close to a course record,” Knox said.

Almost 12 minutes behind him was the second place team in 1:37:29, an adult relay squad in the 19 to 39 age group including Lauren Bell, Maury Hackett and Jenny Klejka, who dubbed themselves the “Seriously Sweaty Sirens.”

Right on their tail were Tom Jacobsen, Terry Lovett and Cory Eubanks in third place in 1:37:42.

The long course event involves a five-mile run from Blatchley Middle School to the Coast Guard base gate on Japonski Island and back, followed by a 14-mile out and back bike ride to Starrigavan and a 1,000 yard swim.

Competing in the 12 and under age group – which allows for use of a shortened course – Jake Peterson took first in 35:21, followed by Wim Edwards in second after 35:26. A relay of Stevie Jarvill, Avery Haavig and Olivia Jarvill came in third in 38:45.

Since 1985, the springtime triathlon has honored the memory of Julie Hughes, who died of cancer in February of that year. She was 15.

Her parents, Carol and Bill Hughes, organized the race that spring in conjunction with Julie’s swim coach, Siouxha Tokman, a 1973 Olympics swimmer for his native country, Turkey, and a dedicated youth coach.

“It’s been quite a tribute to the town, everything to keep on doing it for this long,” Bill Hughes told the Sentinel. “We’ve had a lot of organizers and so forth over the years, and Siouxha Tokman, he initiated the race. He was the regional swim team coach, Julie’s coach.”

Bill Hughes, now 81, wasn’t on the sidelines this year. He raced in the cycling leg of a relay alongside swimmer Dean Orbison and runner Charles Horan. Despite their age, the trio took 13th place out of 17 entries on the long course. Their time was 2:04:45, and they named their team “Won’t Give Up.”

Julie, her father said, was a talented breaststroker and cross country runner, but her 1983 cancer diagnosis turned all that upside down. When he received the news of her illness following trouble in a swimming race in the fall of  1983, he was out of town.

“We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Maybe she just overtrained or something. And I was out on a hunting trip up north for a week, had a fly camp set up in there, and someone called over the marine radio, told me that she was sick. We came back,” he remembered.

Proceeds from the triathlon go to the Cancer Survivors Network, which is organized by the American Cancer Society.

Competing on Saturday, Aaron Routon finished fourth in 1:38:45, with Bridget Hitchcock, Cyndi Edwards and Martha Pearson in fifth in 1:47:37, and Val and Phinn Edwards in sixth 1 minute and 14 seconds later. Gwen Seeley took seventh, with Don Reed, Lina Hatch and Randi Ulrich in eighth and Mary Argubright in ninth. Tenth place went to Brant Brantman, and in 11th was Erik Chevalier. Zoe Decker was 12th across the finish line, followed by Dean Orbison, Bill Hughes and Charles Horan. Behind them was Taryn Fleming. Kimberly Rice took 15th, while Rihana Lundvick – who just turned 13 and was therefore the youngest on the long course – was 16th. Pochi Bhargavi came in 17th.

On the short course, Sawyer Bastain snagged fourth in 40:34, and Evi Rice came in sixth in 42:50. Mathew Chevalier and Ben Lihou were together, 2 minutes behind her, while Ezra and Ruthann Routon and Carolina Jefferies got eighth. Mabelie Vieira, Isla Hackett and Lola Haley teamed up to take ninth, while Kenzie and Jackson Martens finished tenth. Fathom and Rune Jarvill took 11th place.

“The event is great for the people that do it. It’s great for those that help out, the volunteers on the course, just everybody that pitches in,” Knox said. “It means so much to this community, and we’re really looking forward to the forty-year (anniversary race). We’re going to really do it up and make a big shebang of it all.”

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20 YEARS AGO

June 2004 

Advertisement: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Caring Employee of the month! Franklin Thomas Hospital Nutrition Services.

50 YEARS AGO

June 1974

Edna Revard is enjoying a much-deserved vacation: she and youngest son Joe are in Italy visiting her older son, Jack, his wife and child. Jack is with the military, stationed in Italy. Edna will be gone a month, the crew at Revard’s Restaurant says.

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