United they ran: Boston is remembered, and a race record is set at Fitger's 5KRUNNING: When Joe Moore first heard about Monday’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, his thoughts flashed back to 17 years ago when he watched his father, Marc, run the 100th edition of the storied race.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
When Joe Moore first heard about Monday’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, his thoughts flashed back to 17 years ago when he watched his father, Marc, run the 100th edition of the storied race.
The 12-year-old Moore had stood on the same side of the road, in approximately the same spot and time, as those killed and maimed by the twin bombings.
“That’s the first thing that crossed my mind,” Moore said Saturday morning after winning the 24th Fitger’s 5K down Superior Street in Duluth. “I was in a very similar position — standing in about that spot, watching my dad finish in about that time. It really bothered me all week, like it did a lot of people. We were listening to the radio while driving up here (Friday night) when they caught the second (bomber), and that calmed me down. I was really on edge all week.
“I wanted to come up here and make sure I ran a hard race — that’s how I deal with that stuff.”
The Minneapolis resident did exactly that, winning the men’s race in record time. His clocking of 14 minutes, 53 seconds broke Jeremy Polson’s 11-year course record by 15 seconds despite temperatures hovering around 25 degrees at race time. He was 11 seconds ahead of running teammate and defending champion Mike Reneau of St. Paul, who also broke the old mark.
“About a mile in I could feel the cold air in my lungs just burning,” Moore said. “I was hurting — each mile was a little bit slower than the last.”
Like Moore, women’s winner Morgan Place couldn’t help but think about Boston this week. Though she didn’t know anyone running the race, Minnesota Duluth’s eight-time NCAA Division II All-American says runners have a bond.
“I feel like runners are one big community and when something like that happens, it targets your heart,” said Place, who was timed in 17:52 to win her first Fitger’s by 32 seconds over runner-up and five-time champion Katie McGee (Koski). “It’s tragic and unfortunate, and I’ve been praying for them.”
The winners weren’t the only ones stunned by last week’s events, and at the same time resolved to not allow terrorist actions to dictate their next move.
Michael Bjornberg, a 59-year-old architect from Minneapolis, has run at Boston twice and wore his 2000 race T-shirt Saturday. He knew two runners who competed in Boston, including one who finished 10 yards before the first blast.
“I was going into a meeting at the state Capitol,” said Bjornberg, who is working on the building’s restoration project, “and somebody told me a bomb had just gone off. I kept trying to get ahold of (my friends), but I couldn’t reach them. Their (finishing) time was really close (to when the bombs went off) and I kept checking Facebook and social media saying, ‘C’mon, c’mon, report.’ Finally a friend told me they were OK.”
Bjornberg, who was the top finisher in his age group in 20:39, said Saturday’s run shows people should continue to live as before.
“We can still come out and still run … keep doing your life and don’t be affected,” he said. “There was the (terrorist) with the shoe (bomb) and the one with the underwear (bomb), but I still wear shoes and underwear. The whole purpose is to terrorize you until you’re too afraid to do anything, and I think the whole way to get around that is to go out and do something.”
That’s what Brian Prudhomme did. The 34-year-old Duluthian was the last person to complete the 5K walk, finishing in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 19 seconds. Born with cerebral palsy and walking with two canes, Prudhomme finished amid a chorus of singing and cheering from St. Scholastica women’s athletes, who were volunteer workers at the event.
Prudhomme, public address announcer at Duluth Huskies games and other area events, wore a Boston shirt he found in his closet for his first Fitger’s race. He says those severely injured in Boston will face far more difficulty than he has in life.
“It’s not really fair to compare the two,” he said. “They have a challenge they have to face. If they can go through what they did, there’s no reason why I can’t do what I just did. If I can do it while wearing a shirt that honors them, it’s a very small gesture … but hopefully it helps.”
Saturday’s winners likely will be back in Duluth soon.
Even though Place, 23, will move to Rochester, Minn., after graduating from UMD next month, she plans on running the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon again in June. The exercise science major from Ellsworth, Wis., who will attend the Mayo Clinic’s school for health sciences, has enjoyed her stay in the Twin Ports.
“I’ve had so much fun in Duluth, it’s been a dream come true,” said Place, who finished in about 3 hours in her first marathon at Chicago last fall. “I’m going to continue running and training as much as I can. I really enjoy it, and I think it’s something I’ll do for a long time.”
Moore finished 12th last June at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Duluth and won the Park Point Five-Miler the following month. A former steeplechase competitor at Kansas State, he quickly turned toward the 10,000 meters.
“I switched to 10K when I realized I wasn’t very good at jumping over stuff,” he said.
Moore ran at Boston a couple of years ago in his first serious marathon and hopes to qualify for next year’s race.
“I’ve always planned on going back and doing better,” he said, “but now there’s a real good reason for a lot of people to go back.”
24TH FITGER’S 5K RESULTS
1. Joe Moore, Minneapolis, 14:53; 2. Michael Reneau, St. Paul, 15:04; 3. Erik Teig, St. Paul, 15:24; 4. Grant Johnson, Duluth, 15:58; 5. John Leaf, Minneapolis, 16:05; 6. Ben Merchant, Minneapolis, 16:10; 7. Scott Behling, Duluth, 16:28; 8. Eric Thies, Apple Valley, Minn., 16:44; 9. Donny Sazama, Hermantown, 17:24; 10. Isaac Boedigheimer, Cloquet, 17:42.
1. Morgan Place, Duluth, 17:52; 2. Katie McGee, Duluth, 18:24; 3. (tie) Amanda Lepisto, Duluth and Trisha Moore, Minneapolis, 19:27; 5. Melissa Kempenich, Duluth, 20:13; 6. Emily Tillinghast, Burnsville, Minn., 20:32; 7. Elizabeth Conklin, Duluth, 20:41; 8. Kathi Madden, Duluth, 20:46; 9. Marie Hoder, Duluth, 21:14; 10. Diana Hogan, Minneapolis, 21:16.