SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Guiness World Record Attempt: World's Largest Rain Boot Race
By Ty Rettke


May 21, 2012

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Over one thousand residents of Ketchikan gathered near the site of the new Ketchikan Library for a shot at getting in the Guinness (TM) book of World Records for the world's largest rain boot race. By the official time advertised to start gathering, there were already throngs of people lining the street Saturday. They started pouring in at 1:30 and by the time the road was closed by the City of Ketchikan crews and the Police Department, there were people lining both sides of the Bypass, causing traffic to slow to a halt at times.

Once the street was closed, the people really started to pour in. Hundreds of people began to clog the area just north of Copper Ridge road in preparation of the starter pistol shot. The Ketchikan Theater Ballet was on scene to help sign people in, and provide participants wrist bands. Ketchikan Theater Ballet also served as stewards for the race, spread out along the race path to ensure that people were participating to the strict Guinness guidelines and to remove any wrist bands for people that left the race area without completing the race.

jpg Guiness World Record Attempt: World's Largest Rain Boot Race

Guiness World Record Attempt: World's Largest Rain Boot Race
Participants Gathering for the Start of the Rain Boot Race...

The Ketchikan Police Department was on hand to provide traffic control and assist in crowd control. There were marked police vehicles blocking off the roads in addition to the road closure signs that were placed in the road by the City Street Crews. Ketchikan Public Utilities ComVision was on scene videotaping the event both for the required Guinness evidence and for broadcast on local television. Each of the radio stations and the media were moving around the crowds getting interviews and taking pictures of the wild assortment of boots. There were people in every color of boot you can think of, though the event was dominated by far by the old standard of Ketchikan sneakers, the Xtra Tuff. There were slug inserts of every variety. A few costumed figures even showed up. Santa Claus made an appearance wearing his rain boots, as did Mario and Luigi from Nintendo (TM) fame. There was also a giant chicken strutting around, all booted up and ready to race.

As the crowd grew, the starting line disappeared behind the throngs of people waiting anxiously to hear the starter pistol go off. As the time to start the race drew near, there were calls over the loudspeaker, wielded by this writer, to hurry up and register if you had not yet done so.

At the end of the registration period, the official line up began and the crowd was buzzing with excitement. The question of “Ketchikan, are you ready to set a Guinness World Record?” was answered by over a thousand voices shouting “Yes!”.

After a few moments of asking people to be safe, not trample each other in the rush to the finish line, and to remember to have their wrist bands cut off at the end of the race to be counted, there was a moment of pure excitement as the tape marking the starting line was removed. Then, Ketchikan City Mayor Lew Williams prepared to signal the start of the race. “Give me an 'On your mark get set go', and I’ll fire it”, Mayor Williams told the writer and co-organizer of the record attempt..

So there it began, on the southern end of the 3rd Avenue bypass, just up from the new Library site, that the writer's chant of preparation was heard followed by the crack of the starter's’ pistol. They were off. Droves of boots began thudding down the pavement, jumping over Kurt R. Morin (Alaska Shellfish) and photographer Hall Anderson (Ketchikan Daily News) as they sat bravely in front of the throng to get the best shots of the boots coming at them.

They came around the corner and started down the hill, towards the end point a little over 1 Km ahead. More and more people came creating a sea of boots and smiles, all power walking or jogging into the record books.

The first person to cross the finish line was a lumberjack in Ketchikan for the summer season, Tyler Rothe. He finished the race in only 3 minutes and 57 seconds. A little over a half hour later and the last person crossed the line, and all was done, except for the counting.

After the counting was completed the world record attemp had fallen short of the record. 1,008 people registered to race and the record needed 1,367 to win. While a little disappointing it was still an amazing day, and fun was had by all. Overall the event was success, even though falling short of the record. No one was injured, and there were no major incidents. People had fun and the community came together for nothing more than to come together, which was exactly the point.

On this beautiful, sunny day, along with so many other great outside activities going on, such as the MS walk, the March of Dimes walk, and the Torch Run (All 5k races), the Ketchikan Krusers car show, the Harley Riders Rally and several other events, the rainboot race had an amazing showing of people!

Plans are for another future attempt, and the record will then become Ketchikan's!



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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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