NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. – On a bright, but chilly morning, SDP runners started the 25K Challenge of the Spokane River Run with less participation than expected (Mike Lauffer was unexpectedly sidelined with a 2 a.m. grout injury from his remodel project and Ryan West lost a battle of viral warfare with his student athletes). The challenges of the 25K course in Riverside State Park were unparalleled but no match for four SDP trail warriors. Matt Hietala (3:00:27) finished fourth of the SDP group and was ceremoniously awarded a treasured golden ribbon from fellow competitor Jack Wiley (2:28:07). Ironically, Wiley earned fourth place in his age group, but his running performance was overshadowed by his camper load of post-race hydration options including seasonally inappropriate Octoberfest brew. Don “Sandalman” Aslinger (2:21:40), was well-trained for the first 12 miles of the race and new sandals carried him to a 17th place overall finish. Keith Comes (2:15:24) finished first in his age group against the other rather soft competition of his ancient challengers.
In the equally technically intimidating 5K distance, Ted Chauvin (24:45) won his age group. Proud parents Lauren and Joe Schubring escorted daughter Stella to victory in the under 1 age group (1:22:34). Former member and current Ritzville resident David Bradley (52:42), cheered on by his wife and son Phineas, added another age group victory to the SDP resume in the 10K race.
Renowned sports photographer Joel Van Sloten captured dramatic moments of the race and heckled SDP runners with the assistance of Brandon Benefield, who, contrary to popular belief, is good at everything. Benefield is a two-time undefeated past champion of the Spokane River Run 50K distance. Creative post-race Mexican cuisine was served by Zack Robertson from his Good ‘Dilla food truck. The Bratdilla paired nicely with the Octoberfest supplied by Wiley. Dave Gardner and wife Keri joined the post-race festivities with the most important member of their family, Wilbur.
– Keith Comes