Jim Archer still hitting the trail hard at 74

Dennis King, left, and Jim Archer spent hours marking sections and turns for the annual Cape Mountain Trail Run.

If the annual Cape Mountain Trail Run 10-mile race seems shorter these days, it is.

By nearly a half mile.

"When I first started to run it, in 2003, I had a mountain bike I used to measure it, and it wasn't too accurate," race founder Jim Archer said Saturday at Horse Creek Campground, where the 2019 run started and finished.

"When Dennis (King) took it over, he wheeled it, so the 10 mile turned out to be 10.43!"

Kyle Terry of Florence won this year's Jim Archer 10-Mile Run in 1 hour, 19 minutes, while former Siuslaw High School standouts Carissa Oliver and Kyle King — now both at Oregon State — won the shorter runs.

Oliver won the 10K in 1 hour, 5 minutes, while King won the 4-mile race in a reported 27 minutes.

Nearly a score of mostly Florence-area runners competed this year in the event, which benefits the Siuslaw Vikings' cross country team.

"When we first started doing it, when it was an official event, we had 75 to 80 people," Archer said. "Now it's just the hard core, the people who have done it before, and that aren't injured."

Archer was the primary mover behind the event, gathering U.S. Forest Service permits, sponsors, Eclectic Edge Racing for timing and doing much of the trail clearing and marking.

"We kept it going until 2015, when I moved near Portland," Archer said. "Then Dennis King and Leonard ‘Snake' Ulrich kind of decided to take it over as a fun run."

It remains a labor of love for Archer, a member of the Siuslaw Hall of Fame for his decades of service to the school's athletic program.

"I used to maintain all the trails here," Archer said. "Dennis now cuts all the brush. He marked a couple of days, and yesterday we spent eight, nine hours marking all the sections and turns.

"Before, I'd spend a couple of weeks out here cutting brush."

Archer lived in Florence 43 years before moving in 2015 to the Portland area to help his daughter. He still is a frequent Florence visitor.

"I come down for the Rhody Run, (Vikings) cross country, some of the track meets," he said. He's also in Florence for the decades-old Morning After 5K on New Year's Day.

Running remains a big part of his life as he looks ahead to turning 75 in January.

"I'll move into another age group," he said with a grin.

He no longer pounds out 10-milers at a 10-minute-per-mile pace, but he still takes part in runs. Saturday, he walked the 4-mile course while chatting with longtime friend Annie Leger, who had her dog, Luna, in tow.

"You get older, and you compare what you do now to what you did then," Archer said. "It's hard for some people to wrap their head around it."

But not for the Energizer Bunny he is, whether it's 4 miles or 10 miles.

Or 10.43.


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