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Marathoner wins by a mile

A part of the field of 257 runners who would finish the 12-mile race around Green Lake at Spicer pass over the Indian Beach inlet approaching the five-mile mark on Monday morning. The 35th annual Green Lake Run started at 7 a.m. with the mercury nudging its way to 70 degrees with little wind. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

SPICER -- On Sunday Jeff Scovill ran around Green Lake -- twice.

Worn out? Not at all. Just training.

It was just a warmup for Monday morning's 12-mile circle jaunt, part of a marathoner's training.

The 36-year-old bank employee from Minneapolis streaked around the lake in 70-degree weather to post a winning time of 1:07.24. It's the fastest time since Joel Fenske of Paynesville made it around the 5,400-acre lake in 1:06.32 in 1998.

Scovill's winning margin was more than five minutes up on runner-up Matt Weitzel, 18, of Willmar.

There were a reported 257 finishers, on par with the 250 last year and 259 in 2008.

Gretchen Amundson, 31, of St. Cloud, ran unopposed at the front of a field of 112 women in the race. The Clara City native cut two minutes off her fourth-place time of a year ago to finish in 1:24.36. Susan Engelhart, 34, a Willmar native who lives in Jordan, ran in second most of the way to finish in 1:26.18.

This was the first Green Lake for Scovill, preparing for the Bay State Marathon in Lowell, Mass., in October.

"My father, George, grew up in Willmar, but he lives in Minneapolis now," he explained. "I have friends on the lake, Tom and Sue Lange, where I stayed."

He said his winning 5:37 pace is about his "marathon pace."

Scovill reached the first mile in 5:27 in a four-pack that included Weitzel and C.J. Seifert, both 18, and recent Willmar Cardinal teammates.

"By the third mile, I could tell by their breathing that the pace was difficult," he said. "High-school runners are used to 5k's."

Scovill, who played soccer and hockey in high school at Coon Rapids, has run seven marathons with a best of 2:31.

Amundson didn't run at MACCRAY High School either.

"I'm usually in the top five here but I don't think I've every won any race before," said the mother of two.

She's coming off a 3:21 at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth last month, which ranked her in the top 100 females.

Lisa Hines, 47, of Waite Park ran third in 1:27.49 and become one of only three females under 1:30.

Both Weitzel, who will run at Luther College, and Seifert, who will compete for the University of St. Thomas, were running in their first Green Lake. Though he looked smooth, Seifert acknowledged the pace was difficult at a distance he's not accustomed to.

"My time today for four miles was the same as the Foot Lake 4 (a week earlier where he was fourth in 22:47.)

Mike Heinen, 26, a former runner for the New London-Spicer Wildcats, took fourth and Redwood Valley running coach Andy Regnier, the Memorial Day 5k winner at Willmar, was fifth.

Runners gushed about the beauty of the course and the fair weather. The bright morning sun the first half hour turned to overcast about the time the majority of the field reached the six-mile turn at the county park and lost what little breeze had been enjoyed the first half of the race.

"The weather was great," said Beth Leer, 41, of Northfield, who finished second in her 40-49 age group. "I pushed it harder toward the end and it hurt."

The Glacial Lakes Championship Running Series continues Saturday with the Watercade Lake Ripley 4-mile Run in Litchfield, also a 7 a.m. start.

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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