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Eckhoff returning to defend men's title in 15th anniversary of Foot Lake Four

WILLMAR -- The 15th edition of the Foot Lake 4 race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday in downtown Willmar.

As of Thursday, about 470 walkers and runners have registered for the race, which is a part of the Glacial Lakes Championship Running series and is a highlight event of the Willmar Fests weekend.

Pat Berg, Foot Lake 4 Chairperson, said usually around 100 more people register on event day.

Last year's winner, Kyle Eckhoff is returning to defend his title. He won the 2008 race by almost two minutes.

Proceeds from this year's race will go to Rice Cardiac Rehab "to provide scholarships for patients who have been referred to the program following a heart event, such as a heart attack or major heart surgery," according to a Rice Hospital release.

There will also be prizes given away to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Foot Lake 4, including random $15 prizes to runners/walkers after the awards ceremony and prizes to the walker for the best jersey with the number 15 on it, the walker wearing the best heart-themed outfit, the oldest walker, the grandparent with the most grandchildren and the walker wearing the oldest Foot Lake 4 t-shirt.

The men's and women's overall winners will again receive a hand-carved goose by Phil Scheevel of Spicer.