How many times can a collective group of people walk around Kodiak Island in a month?
The Kodiak Chamber of Commerce is hoping that answer is 275 times.
On Monday, the chamber launched the first Kodiak Crab Festival Virtual Run and Walk, with a goal of reaching 73,500 miles by the end of the competition on Aug. 23 — the final day of Crab Festival.
“If we get enough people to do it, that would be awesome,” said Jena Lowmaster, the chamber’s community relations director.
So far, six people have combined to walk 29 miles, with the Crab Festival mascot, Patty the King Crab, leading the way with 11.21 miles logged. The Kodiak coastline is 266 miles.
“She is not walking in a crab outfit, that would be a big hazard,” Lowmaster said. “But it is somebody physically doing the walking as Patty.”
The virtual run and walk is Lowmaster’s baby.
With the annual Crab Festival races — the Pillar Mountain Run and the Pasagashak to Kodiak Bike Race, which are organized by the City of Kodiak Parks and Recreation Department — not solidified yet, the chamber felt it was essential to develop a competition for the island’s outdoor enthusiasts.
The chamber teamed with Healthy Kodiak to develop the virtual event.
The concept is simple: After registering at Charityfootprints.com/KodiakCrabRun, let the stepping begin.
Steps are logged automatically through any fitness tracker and displayed on the website. The top stepper earns an outdoor lover’s prize package and will be announced at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 on the chamber’s Facebook page.
The competition is not restrictive to Kodiak residents, so if a family on the East Coast want to join, they can.
Want to double-up on competitions, go for it. The chamber encourages people tackling Discover Kodiak’s Adjust Your Altitude to register for the virtual run.
“We are hoping people go out, have fun and have a little bit of competitive spirit,” Lowmaster said. “The biggest thing is getting outside and enjoying the beautiful weather and discovering Kodiak … in the state that we are in.”
The event is doubling as a fundraiser for the chamber. Registration fees range from $5 to $100, while the top individual fundraiser will win two Alaska Airlines tickets, while weekly prizes will also be handed out.
Lowmaster said the chamber is hoping to raise $30,000, with any additional funds going to the Kodiak Economic Development Corporation Small Businesses Relief grants.
“We want to continue to offer the services to the community and to the businesses that we currently do offer,” she said.
The 62nd Crab Festival was initially scheduled for the last week of May, but, because of COVID-19, the chamber pushed the event back to Aug. 19-23. The chamber launched a virtual Crab Festival in late June after the Kodiak Emergency Operations Team didn’t approve of a full in-person event.
“We wanted to make sure to have Crab Festival in some capacity, and I think this is another aspect of bringing some of the Crab Fest festivities and hopefully feeling to everybody.”