Rick Hasenstab has a knack for winning inaugural endurance races on The Rock.
More than a decade ago, Hasenstab was part of the first team to win the Eco Challenge, a daylong scavenger-type hunt that tested competitors mental and physical skills.
With the Eco Challenge no longer in existence, Hasenstab tested his mettle in Kodiak’s newest race — the Woody WayFinder Adventure Race Saturday on Woody Island.
He proved he hadn’t lost a step.
Hasenstab teamed with his wife, Anne, to emerge victorious over 23 other teams. The Hasenstabs used teamwork to speed through five challenges and finish the 6.5-mile race in 1 hour, 27 minutes — 11 minutes faster than runner-up Marcus and Kathleen Dunbar.
The win came as a surprise as the couple of 16 years didn’t set out to dominate the field. It just happened.
“We just wanted to go out for an awesome adventure,” said Rick, who is stationed on the Coast Guard Cutter Spar. “We went for the race and had some competitors that we knew with us; they kept a good pace, and we kept up. We were lucky and fortunate on the challenges, and we just kept pushing it.”
The challenges involved tossing ice blocks into tires (think cornhole on steroids), carrying the ice block for two miles, a rope climb up a cliff, finding painted rocks and filling a bucket full of water using a cup with a hole in it.
“We had to run to the ocean, fill up a cup and you weren’t allowed to cover the hole,” Rick said.
Completing challenges were necessary, as seen in the final standings. Michelle Pages and Sara Walker also completed the course in 1:27, but finished in last place because they crossed the line without painted rocks.
“They didn’t win the race because they skipped a challenge, which was looking for rocks,” race creator Anna Maria Wheeler said. “Painted rocks literally moved them from first to last place.”
In between challenges, racers trekked 6.5 miles — going uphill, downhill, jumping over downed trees and running on a beach.
The winning team said running on the beach was the toughest part of the race.
“I just sunk. My legs tired quick,” Anne said.
The top three teams in the standings all were husband-wife duos — Kelly and Lars Anderson tied for third with Josia Thelander and Jordan Crews with times of 1:41.
“That just proves that married couples work better together,” Anne said.
This was the first official race on Woody Island. Competitors were boated to Woody by Wheeler’s husband. Racers hit the course in three waves.
“The island is a beautiful island — the race went all the way around the island and had lots of varied terrains, sometimes you were on a well-used single track trail, and sometimes it was on a never-used-making-your-own-new trail,” longtime Kodiak coach and runner Marcus Dunbar said.
Wheeler started planning for the race, which was sponsored by the Kodiak Baptist Mission, in January. She had to get approval from Lesonoi, Natives of Kodiak and the Kodiak Island Borough to use the land on Woody.
Wheeler hopes the race becomes an annual event and based off comments from the racers it will be.
“I really think this race is very well put together. The trails were clearly marked, and it was a fun race for everybody … this will likely turn out to be an annual event in Kodiak,” Rick said.
1. Anne and Rick Hasenstab, 1 hour, 27 minutes; 2. Kathleen and Marcus Dunbar, 1:38; 3. Josia Thelander and Jordan Crews, 1:41; T3. Kelly and Lars Anderson; 5. Traci Campbell and Todd Burton, 1:45; 6. Amy and Ryan Sheffield, 1:50; 7. Melissa and Matt Grandel, 2:00; 8 Emily Batini and Tina Burchett, 2:07; 9. Nancy Castro and Ian Bushell, 2:09; 10. Ashley Frost and Karissa Stoecker, 2:13; 11. Heather Norton and Shelley Paulson, 2:14; 12. Adrienne Chambers and Stefani Kondro, 2:15; 13. Alyssa Larson and Dana Schaefer, 2:21; 14. Charleen Weber and Brandon Jelson, 2:33; 15. Eric O’Neil and Jamie Greendyk, 2:36. 16. Kristy Wielicki and Olivia Krohta, 2:39; 17. Charmaine and Marcus Dominguez, 2:41; 18. Danielle and Trevor Shultz, 2:44; 19. Heather Burke and Stephanie Grimes, 2:50; 20. Lix Demerest and Toni Hallam, 2:50; 21. Kate Korrow and Monic Claridge, 2:41; 22. Michelle Pages and Sara Walker, 1:27.