The Ketchikan Running and Walking Club is keeping pace with virtual races.
After a successful showing of nearly 30 competitors during May’s Virtual Totem to Totem Half Marathon, the club is upping the ante with a virtual Hills from Hell.
Originally scheduled for April 25, the Hills from Hell race was postponed due to the novel coronavirus and social distancing guidelines. The Virtual Hills from Hell, which opened Friday, will run until June 21.
“It's a huge almost circle,” Katie Sivertsen said of the route. “There’s lots of ups and downs. ... But it's climbing up some iconic hills. Climbing up Schoenbar hill; climbing up the dump hill — which isn't that bad because it's switchbacky. But it's no joke.”
Sivertsen, who organized the Virtual Totem to Totem race, is doing the same for the Virtual Hills from Hell.
“It's a crazy route,” she said. “It is insane.”
The Hills from Hell has an elevation gain of 1,150 feet over six miles. It starts at Alder Park, and finishes across the street from KRBD.
To participate, competitors must run the actual route while using a GPS app, like Strava, MapMyRun or RunKeeper.
The Ketchikan Running Club already has a club page on Strava.com, with a virtual map of the route available.
“It’s the Facebook of running,” Sivertsen said of the site.
While the actual route is required this go-around — the only difference from the Virtual Totem to Totem Half Marathon — the running club still is encouraging those outside of Ketchikan to compete.
“If you still want to participate, what we're saying is you need to find a way to mirror that elevation gain, as closely as possible — 1,150 feet of elevation gain over six miles,” Sivertsen said. “That's a huge challenge to find a course that's going to match; that's really difficult. But if folks want to try from off-island, they're super welcome to.”
The running club also will host weekly challenges throughout June, including elevation related challenges, run streaks and exploring different trails.
“We talked quite a bit about how we can engage the runners and walkers, and just encourage activity in our community virtually,” Sivertsen said about the club’s last meeting on June 2. “... It's just different ways that different types of runners and walkers can get engaged, and try something new.”
The club also has talked about utilizing its Strava page to create Strava art — designed routes to draw a picture or write a word from an eagle-eye view.
“If you Google Strava art, you get some hilarious failures,” Sivertsen said. “... But folks are being super intentional — printing out maps of all the different streets in town — and drawing pictures over them, and really planning stuff out.”
But the Hills from Hell route doesn’t draw anything — just blood, sweat and tears from commitment.
Competing in the Virtual Hills from Hell is free. And although medals won’t be handed out at the finish line, the satisfaction of completing Hills from Hell is reward enough.
“No swag for this one,” Sivertsen said. “Just a lot of elevation.”
• Start at Alder Park and go uphill.
• Right on Buren Road.
• Right on Fairview Avenue.
• Right on Jackson Street, and take it all the way down the hill (continue to take the stairs by Holy Name Catholic School).
• Left on Tongass Avenue.
• Run Tongass Avenue all the way through town.
• Left to go up Schoenbar Road.
• Right at the Ketchikan Public Library, to go down Schoenbar Road, toward the Gateway Recreation Center and Schoenbar Middle School.
• Left onto Park Avenue.
• Continue going straight, to go up dump hill.
• Right onto Nordstrom Drive; run to the dump.
• Turn around at the dump, and turn left to go back down dump hill.
• Continue straight onto Park Avenue at the bottom of the hill.
• Right onto Bawden Street.
• Right onto Pine Street.
• Left onto Forest Avenue.
• Finish across the street from KRBD.
Creating a Strava account
Participants can create a free account at Strava.com, and join the Ketchikan Running Club’s page.