They run in the rain, don't they!
WILLMAR -- In the 13th spring, they waited.
The Law Day/Memorial 5k from Flags of Honor Park has most often been blessed with fine weather but on the 13th anniversary it rained.
So, some 200 hundred entrants waited, some in their vehicles, others in the beach shelter at Robbins Island.
At 9:30 the Saturday morning rain still fell but everyone had grown tired of standing (or sitting) and it was announced the run would start no later than 9:45, or 45 minutes after the scheduled start.
As the race got underway from the park along Highway 71/23, the rain began to back off and by 10 a.m. was no more than a sprinkle. With the temperature 54 degrees and an east wind, few overheated and few complaints were heard.
Pickleevents.com timed 198 at the finish in the Virgil Olson Beach parking lot. That compares to 210 pre-registrations meaning the weather discouraged walk-ups.
First to the chute was Tyler Warren, 19, of rural Watkins, an ag education junior at the U of M, in a time of 17.19 for the 3.1 mile lake-side trail. Warren won the Watercade Days 4-miler last July in Litchfield, where the farmer's son was on the Dragons' track team for 6 seasons.
Warren was followed 1:49 back by Tyler Schulte, 19, of Olivia, a former 3-sport athlete at BOLD now enrolled at Minnesota State Moorhead. Marty Janning, 47, of Willmar took third. He is the male division champion of the 2011 Glacial Lakes Grand Prix Running Series of which this race is the fourth installment of 2012.
Kevin VanHeuveln and his son, Klint, both of Pennock, were next.
Kristine Duininck, the runner-up here in both 2010 and 2011, of rural Willmar and Tracy Sik of Willmar finished 1-2 among females, which outnumbered the males by about a dozen. The Grand Prix veterans exchanged the lead in every mile, but Duininck had the better burst at the end to finish 8 seconds up on Sik in 21:00. It was the second victory in the series for the 38-year-old Duininck, who won the Pat Boros Trail Run at Sibley Park in September.
Filling out the division's top 5 were former Willmar Cardinals athlete Alaina (Eckhoff) Burgess of White Bear Lake, Haylee Hastad of Willmar and Danielle Barker of Atwater.
Series race director Dan Hubbard handed out 2011 Grand Prix awards. Joining Janning as Series champion is Lori Gehrking of Willmar, who has not raced this year but has been volunteering on race days.
Last year's race in perfect weather drew a record field of 250; in 2010 there were 212 finishers and 196 the year before. The first event in 2000 timed 42 entrants.