Sports column: Duluth runners ready for the seasonBetween now and the fall months, there are countless 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons, trail runs, and the most famous Grandma’s Marathon festivities across the Northland.
By: Sarah Packingham, For the Budgeteer News
On Saturday, April 20, nearly 1,400 runners competed in the annual Fitger’s 5K in the streets of Downtown Duluth.
Between now and the fall months, there are countless 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons, trail runs, and the most famous Grandma’s Marathon festivities across the Northland.
“The Northland has a running community that can’t be topped,” said Duluth runner Tonya Porter. “You have to be pretty hardcore to be a runner in Duluth with all the unpredictable weather. I’ve spent the majority of my training days running in snow, slush, and wind. It makes you tough and so appreciative of the nice days.”
Porter has competed in the Harvest Run, a trail run in Hartley and two pub shuffles for St. Patrick’s Day.
“I’ve experienced nothing but supportive folks who give positive encouragement through words and even high-fives,” she said. “People just like to have fun at these events and are always welcoming to other people who want to be a part of that good time.”
Now, Porter is focusing on her biggest race yet, the Gary Bjorkland Half Marathon.
“This year I decided to make the ultimate commitment and sign up,” she said. “I’ve been running six days a week since I began training in February.”
She feels confident that she’ll be able to run successfully, as she doesn’t have any real goals except to finish and to have fun. She sees this race as something every runner in Duluth should try at least once.
People run for various reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is for the health benefits and bettering themselves.
Last summer, Duluthian Melissa Lucas competed in the Nancy English 5K for the third time and it was her first year actually running the race, versus walking.
“I had a time goal and I beat it by seven and a half minutes,” she said. “The feeling when I crossed the finish line and saw my time was amazing. It was better than I ever imagined.”
Lucas has been hooked on the racing scene since that moment. She has since competed in a few more 5Ks and is preparing for more and preparing for the Gary Bjorkland Half Marathon as well.
Lucas has two kids, a full-time job and is attending school and does her best to work out four days a week, both weight training and running.
“I love pushing myself to see how far I can go,” Lucas said. “I love the runner’s high and also the peacefulness of me and the pavement.”
Information and schedules for upcoming races can be found on the Internet at www.northlandrunner.com
Duluthian Sarah Packingham writes about sports for the Budgeteer. Contact her at budgeteersarah@ gmail.com.