Faces in the Pack fare well at Grandma's
There were 12,161 reported runners Saturday in the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon and Grandma's Marathon. This week, the News Tribune profiled four runners who weren't competing for the $100,000 in prize money. They are hobbyists with modest goals...
There were 12,161 reported runners Saturday in the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon and Grandma's Marathon. This week, the News Tribune profiled four runners who weren't competing for the $100,000 in prize money. They are hobbyists with modest goals of crossing the finish line or setting a personal record.
This is how they fared:
BEN WIZIK, 31,
Wizik endured a hectic week -- but not without a hitch.
As expected, his wife, Amanda, gave birth Wednesday to a baby boy.
They named him Henry (8 pounds, 2 ounces) and Ben stayed with them at the hospital both Wednesday and Thursday nights.
But on Friday night, Ben needed sleep for Saturday's Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon and Amanda wasn't feeling well.
Ben stayed with her until 11:45 p.m. and returned home for three hours of rest, but he said his priority was with his wife and that sleep wouldn't have mattered for the race.
"I felt tired mentally," Ben said. "My body felt fine. I could have gotten eight hours, but I wouldn't have improved a bit."
Ben finished in 1 hour, 46 minutes and 44 seconds. His goal was 1:40:00.
"I set out to run 7:30 [per mile], and for the first three or four I ran 7:45," he said. "I couldn't run my pace, I changed it to eight minutes and I knew it was because of the heat."
The four-member Wizik family, with 3-year-old Bella, who also was born near the date of Grandma's Marathon, were set to return home at 4 p.m. Saturday.
"[The race] doesn't matter, my focus was baby first," Ben said. "He's a sharp little man."
JESSICA WUORINEN, 17,
Wuorinen had a serious problem even before she laced up her brand-new Asics Gel Kinsel shoes Saturday.
The Duluth Central senior-to-be went to the DECC to pick up her race packet Friday when she realized she was registered for Grandma's Marathon instead of the expected half-marathon.
"I was positive that I had registered for the half, and my parents double-checked it," Wuorinen said. "It was too late, I just did what I could."
Wuorinen completed 14 miles and then boarded the bus. She didn't know her time. Her previous long was eight miles and her goal was simply to cross the finish line.
"My family was there [when I got off the bus] at the end to tell me how proud they are of me," said Wuorinen, who led a family health movement after her dad, Ricky, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003.
Friday's confusion didn't deter Wuorinen. She's looking forward to competing in one of next year's races.
MICHEAL NIEMI, 21,
Niemi met his time goal for the half-marathon, but wasn't satisfied with his last half- mile.
"I pushed it the last two miles out, but I missed it," said the Duluth Central and Navy graduate. "It was a half mile too soon and the wheels came off at the end. I died."
Niemi finished in 1:12:15. Chad Johnson won it in 1:05:18.
Niemi also used the weekend to catch up with old friends and planned on attending the Saturday night entertainment in Canal Park.
"We had a spaghetti dinner [Friday] and we're recovering [Saturday afternoon]," Niemi said. "It all went pretty well."
CHRISTINE DAVIS, 50,
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Davis said there was one blazing thing about her run Saturday.
"I survived and the only thing blazing about my run was the heat," Davis said.
Davis finished in 4:50, which was 20 minutes off her goal, but it was the best she expected with the starting temperature at 66 degrees in Two Harbors.
Davis said she was running fast, but slowed at the 15-mile mark.
During the race, Davis enjoyed seeing five acquaintances from Joints in Motion, Davis' Arthritis fundraising group.