The Eco Challenge, a Coast Guard Morale Well-Being and Recreation sponsored event, sent competitors on a wilderness scavenger hunt across the island. The race — that was opened to members of the Coast Guard and civilians — had been a staple in Kodiak since 2002.
“We just don’t have the staff right now due to budget cuts and hiring freezes,” said Rachel Dyer, the MWR business section chief. “We are just very short-handed and not able to do it this year. Hopefully we will be able to by next year.”
Dyer said it took close to 60 volunteers — depending on the amount of teams — to help with the race. It also took months of organizing to create the course, which was kept secret until race day. Teams got clues at each checkpoint that revealed their next destination
Dyer, a former MWR athletic director, has been involved with the race from the beginning and said it is disappointing to not have a race this year.
“We have already been getting phone calls and we know people are pretty sad about the event, but they understand,” Dyer said.
The Eco Challenge tested competitors’ skills, endurance and knowledge of the land. Last year, 17 teams of four biked, ran, rafted, threw tomahawks and played a memory game. The entire race covered more than 30 miles with the winning team finishing in 5 hours, 50 minutes, 33 seconds.
Other years, teams hiked up Barometer, golfed at Bear Valley Golf Course and rafted to White Sands Beach.
Shanna Moeder was on the winning team last year — her second Eco Challenge victory.
“Honestly, I am a little relieved to not have to feel the pressure of having to win again,” Moeder said. “But, I am a little bummed because it is definitely a huge challenge that so many people enjoy including myself.”
Moeder said the Eco Challenge was an event she looked forward to every year, because it gave her an opportunity to meet new people. She didn’t know two of her teammates last year, but bonded through the race.
“When I am out doing something, I think about them and that day when we were working together to accomplish our win,” Moeder said.
Contact Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org