Runners tackle Hoodoo summit


Last updated 7/25/2023 at 10:47am

Photo by Jeff Omodt

Brian Elmstad of Eugene strides to the finish with a record-setting time in the 13.1-mile half-marathon at Hoodoo Ski Area on Saturday. The Hoodoo Challenge is a major fundraiser for Sisters Kiwanis Club.

The seventh annual Hoodoo Challenge: Run to the Top may have provided runners with the biggest challenge in the event's history on Saturday, July 22.

The event, sponsored by the Sisters Kiwanis, included a half-marathon (13.1 miles) and a five-kilometer run (3.1 miles).

Hot, dusty conditions and debris from recent logging added to the normal challenge of finishing at the top of the 5,700-foot summit, according to race organizer Suzy Ramsey.

Despite the difficulties, the top three finishers in the half-marathon broke the previous record on the course, per Ramsey.

Brian Elmstad, 29, of Eugene took top honors in a time of 1:32:16. Paul Balmer finished second (1:37:25) and Evan Moreau of Sisters placed third (1:40:21).

The first woman across the line, Kerri Lyons of Bend, placed fourth overall in 1:52:44, while Hayden Roth, a recent graduate of Sisters High School placed fifth as the youngest finisher in the race in 1:53:12. Roth will be running for Southern Oregon University this fall.

Other finishers with local ties in the half-marathon included Tim Roth, Billy Biggers, and Justin Harrer. A total of 50 runners completed the half-marathon.

A trio of youngsters took the top spots in the 5K race, led by 16-year-old Hayden Boaz of Bend, who finished in 29:06. Noah Laughlin-Hall, 18, took second (29:28) and Hudson Boaz, 14, placed third (34:52).

Kristi Laughlin-Raudy placed first among women in 36:18 and finished fourth overall. Josie Ryan of Sisters, 14, placed eighth overall (43:38) as the second female across the line, just ahead of Kolby McMahon (43:45), 13, also of Sisters.

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A total of 62 entrants completed the race, including 77-year-old Donna Kennedy of Camp Sherman and 8-year- old Grayson Lee of Sisters.

The proceeds from the race help to fund Kiwanis projects, according to Ramsey.

"Basically all the fundraising we do with Kiwanis is focused on kids and families," she said. "This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and it will help us contribute to Family Access Network (FAN), local scholarships, Ronald McDonald fund and others."

A total of over 50 volunteers helped make the event run smoothly.

"We couldn't do this without all of our wonderful helpers who made this year's race really great,"said Ramsey.

The only glitch in the event occurred when someone removed some of the directional flagging on the course that had been put out the day before.

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"One of our volunteers was able to take care of that before the race," said Ramsey.

Ramsey hopes that next year's edition will attract even more people, including families.

"It's fun to have moms out here running and having their kids cheering them on," she said. "The fact that we had such a range of ages and locals as well as visitors made the day really great and we hope to keep adding to that."


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