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Gladitsch, Eggers win 'dash for cash' at Foot Lake 4 race

In the first mile of the Foot Lake 4 on Saturday, the field runs on the bike path along Foot Lake on the way to Robbins Island. There were over 400 competitors combined in the men's and women's race. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

WILLMAR -- Carl Gladitsch repeated and Katie Eggers moved up from third a year ago as each claimed a victory at the 16th annual Foot Lake 4 on Saturday morning.

Each won a check for $100.

Last year Gladitsch received a carved Canadian goose, a special prize discontinued and replaced with cash.

"Yeah, that's got a place on the mantel," said the 23-year-old Bloomer, Wis., native, said of the artwork by Phil Scheevel.

The men's race was a triumph for the Bethel University Royals.

Gladitsch, a 2009 graduate, led former cross-country and track teammate Austin Hinrich, 21, of Clara City and Brian Anderson, 22, of Ham Lake to the finish line at the downtown corner of Second Street SW and Becker Avenue.

Eggers, third last year, made it a sweep for MIAC athletics. The Gustavus sophomore-to-be, from Montevideo, placed 14th overall, nearly two minutes up on Susan (Schweitzer) Engelhart of Jordan. The 1994 Willmar graduate took 35th overall.

The 439 chip-timed finishers were three more than a year ago and second only to 2007 when 463 names were posted. The walkers numbered 149, it was announced.

Runners competed in high humidity and bright sun with the temperature nearing 70 degrees by the 8 a.m. start.

"It was hot out there," said Steve Leuders, 46, of Kandiyohi, who ran Boston in April and was 33rd here.

There was another strong turnout from Willmar High School led by spring graduate C.J. Seifert, who placed fourth overall.

Former Cardinal Kirsten Higdem, a St. Olaf graduate, was the fourth female to finish.

Eggers ran cross-country in the fall for the Gusties, though she missed two months with a back injury.

"I didn't expect to win but I always feel a little pressure coming to this race because I've always done well in my age group," she said.

She was third last year in 26:47; this time she was faster by a minute 27 seconds at 25:20.

Gladitsch, who ran a 5:08 opening mile to take control, ran a 5:22 pace for the four miles and a final time of 21:26. That turned out to be 13 seconds slower than his first-place time a year ago.

Foot Notes

Gladitsch will start medical school in the fall at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Last year the runner-up was Tyler Hinrich, Austin's older brother. Tyler missed this race with a foot injury.

Ann Day and Wendy Nelsen each extended their perfect attendance, running in their 16th straight downtown race during Willmar Fest.

Corby Newman started the race for the 16th time. He organized and started the first Kaffe Fest race in 1968, when it started at the fairgrounds and went around Foot Lake. He's fired the starting gun at every race since.

At 21 strong, Team Bria won the participation medals. The individuals participated in memory of Bria Louise Dykema, an infant who died of SIDS exactly a year ago the day of the race.

Seifert said he plans to run at the University of St. Thomas. Another former Cardinal, Danny Voss, who was ninth, says he may run at Macalester.

Rice Memorial Hospital, the major sponsor, will apply the proceeds to one of its heart health programs, including help to needy patients and scholarships for nursing majors at Ridgewater College.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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