Photos courtesy of Amy Heaven


Amy Heaven Special to The Gardner News Forty-two kayakers competed Sept. 2 at the fourth annual Labor Day Kayak Run at Gardner Lake. The range of talent was evident with professional speed-merchants enjoying the beautiful day next to amateurs, family entries and children on pool toys. Everybody challenged themselves to complete the circuit with no injuries except sore muscles and perhaps some bruised egos. The event was about having fun and evidently there was no shortage of that. The starting siren signaled a frenzy of color, motion and will as participants propelled themselves in kayaks, canoes and sail boards on one of three circuits depending on age and ability. Lake-lovers from all over the Kansas City area showed up to compete. The fastest kayak of the day was Mira Doneva and her husband Ron Ladzinski of Olathe. They paddled as a team in an Epic V10 double surfski. They decisively beat out eight other pro competitors in the toughest and longest circuit that required traversing the entire length of the lake and back. Adult female winners in the amateur categories were Sophia Liperoute and Leslie Hind in first and second and Nancy Hammond in third. In the adult male division, Ryan and his son Levi Schrum in a canoe captured the gold, with Cory Adams and Kalyn Ahrens in second and third. Their circuit rounded a point near the stone gazebo. The fastest youth (12 and under) in the female division was Mia Thompson of Olathe in her Epic V8 surfski followed by Adelyn O’Hanlon and Mary Sanders. The quickest males in the youth category were Henry Anderson and Tyson Caughlin. The third-place winner was an unregistered contestant whose identity is unknown. The youth circuit was slightly shorter rounding a point near the historic beach house. Following the race, contestants and spectators alike were treated to complementary grilled hotdogs, nachos and homemade desserts. To defer expenses, the sponsors, the Gardner Lake Association, held a raffle for a kayak, floaties and gift certificates. Plans are already underway for next year’s event with expanding categories and prizes. The popular event is proving to be a new lake tradition.