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Tribune photos by Rand Middleton Part of the record field of 522 runners/walkers at the 6th annual Turkey Leg 5k set off headed south on Lakeland Avenue at the YMCA shortly after 8 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.

Running: 522 thankful for chance to run in chilly Turkey Leg 5K

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Rand Middleton

WILLMAR -- The Turkey Leg 5k road race began in 2007 with 106 individuals starting Thanksgiving Day with a calorie burner.

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By last Thanksgiving, the number of runners and a few walkers had climbed to 340.

This Thursday, on Nov. 22 -- the earliest that Thanksgiving can come up on the November calendar -- 522 participated in the race from the YMCA along the streets of southeast Willmar.

It helped that it was an unusually mild morning, about 44 degrees at 8 a.m. but a sharp northwest wind began knocking down the mercury by the time the horn sounded at about 8:20.

The turnout for the last of the Glacial Lakes Championship Running Series even surpassed the turnout for the area's biggest race, the Foot Lake 4 in June. Pickleevents.com list 473 finishers for this year's run/walk in downtown Willmar.

Overall winner CJ Seifert of Willmar posted a blazing time of 16 minutes and 11 seconds. That broke his own course record by 46 seconds set last year when he won on another mild day in 16:57.

Seifert, 20, runs cross-country for the University of St. Thomas whose last race was a 6k two weeks ago at the NCAA DIII regionals.

He was followed a minute later to the line by University of Minnesota student Tyler Warren of rural Watkins, who ran for the Litchfield Dragons in high school. High school runner Ben Burgett of Community Christian, Willmar, placed third.

The winner of the inaugural race six years ago, Mustafa Yusuf, 23, of Willmar, finished sixth.

The top finishers in the female division were dominated by youth. Samantha Hanson, the lead runner for Willmar's state qualifying cross-country team, placed first in 20:03. Ariel Johnson, 21, of Willmar was next 17 seconds back.

But then, in order, came three more members of the Cardinals team, each only an eighth-grader: Jessa Hanson, Samantha's sister, Grace Graves and Savannah Anez.

Tracy Sik, 42, of Willmar and Beth Van Gulijk, 47, of New London, followed the youth movement to the finish in the Y parking lot.

Some of the runners were competing for top 3 finishes in the Glacial Lakes Series; final results are expected to be announced in about two weeks.

Females, despite a full day still ahead, outnumbered males 285 to 237.

Presumably, the men were free to relax the rest of the day while the women hurried home to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.

6th Turkey Leg 5k

Male

TOP 25 -- (1) CJ Seifert, 20, Willmar, 16:11 (2) Tyler Warren, 21, Watkins, 17:10 (3) Ben Burgett, 16, Spicer, 17:23 (4)Luc Mahler, 25, Bloominton, 17:43 (5) Zach Miller, 14, Chaska, 17:48 (6) Mustafa Yusuf, 23, Willmar 17;54 (7) Andrew Millan, 14, Plymouth, 17:54 (8) Thomas Seifert, 16, Willmar, 17:58 (9) Ryan Sawyer, 17, Willmar 18:01 (10) Mick Quinn, 38, Willmar, 18:29 (11) Steven Lueders, 48, Kandiyohi, 18:33 (12) Marcus Danner, 16, Paynesville, 18:54 (13) Klint Van Heuveln, 20, Pennock, 19:03 (14) Josh Schaffer, 36, Pendleton, SC, 19:13 (15) Joe DeGroot, 26, Wayzata, 19:27 (16) Kevin VanHeuveln, 40, Pennock, 19:33 (17) Kurt TeBeest, Montevideo, 19:40 (18) Stephen Delwiche, 20, Glencoe, 19:45 (19) Jim Watt, 46, Litchfield, 19:46 (20) Jeff Delwiche, 54, Glencoe, 19:50 (21) Eric Lewis, 48, Spicer, 19:52 (22) Marty Janning, 48, Willmar, 19:58 (23) Jon Delf, 35, rice Lake, wis, 19:59 (24) Glenn Bundy, 37, Willmar 20:05 (25) Kyler Vossen, 19,Willmar, 20:11

Female

TOP 25 -- (1) Samantha Hanson, 15, Spicer, 20:03 (2) Ariel Johnson, 21, Willmar, 20:20 (3) Jessa Hanson, 12, Spicer, 20:59 (4) Grace Graves, 13, Willmar, 21;01 (5) Savannah Anez, 14, Willmar, 21:03 (6) Tracy Sik, 42, Willmar, 21:16 (7) Beth Van Gulijk, 47, New London, 21:30 (8) Alaina Burgess, 30, White Bear Lake, 22;01 (9) Leah Popp, 31, Rice, 22:49 (10) Kendra Sietsema, 22, Bloomington, 22:57 (11) Haylee Hastad, 19, Willmar, 23:00 (12) Kristen Woelfel, 36, Belgrade, 23:01 (13) Amanda Schneider, 20, Minneapolis, 23:05 (14) Andrea Winghart, 36, St. Paul, 23:07 (15) Polly Ahrens, 36, Renville, 23:24 (16) Jessica DeGroot, 19, Prinsburg, 23:34 (17) Dawn Lagergren, 41, Litchfield 23:47 (18) Nancy Millan, 23, Willmar, 23:53 (19) Kari Eckhoff, 25, Willmar, 23:53 (20) Britta Diem, 21, Willmar 24:08 (21) Sherie Bundy, 41, Willmar, 24;08 (22) Jacqueline Johnson, 20, Spicer, 24:14 (23) Dominique, 20, Minneapolis, 24:14 (24) Mary Larue, 32, Willmar, 24:22 (25) Richelle Schmitz, 28, Burnsville, 24:22

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