Running: Fife, Hoffman capture Fitger’s 5K titles

Fife defends title after winning his first Fitger's 5K in September.

Julianne Johnson of Two Harbors celebrates at the finish line during the Fitger's 5K Saturday, April 17, 2021 in Duluth. (Clint Austin /

Liam Fife defended his men’s title and Katherine Hoffman won the women’s title in her first appearance on a great day for running Saturday morning at the 32nd annual Fitger’s 5K in downtown Duluth.

Fife, 21, of New Prague, Minnesota, covered the five kilometers in 16 minutes, 59 seconds, to finish seven seconds faster than runner-up Henry Seeb, a former Wisconsin-Superior track and cross country runner.

Fife, a Minnesota Duluth electrical engineering student and president of the running club, was 30 seconds better than his 2020 Fitger’s finish last September as that event was delayed from its traditional April date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoffman, 23, of Minneapolis, edged Emily Wartman of Duluth by two seconds in 19:07.

Joe Moore (14:53 in 2003) and Katie Koski (17:48 from 2012) hold the event records.


With COVID-19 protocols in place, the event was held with wave starts and the winners were decided by chip time and not necessarily the first to cross the finish line.

The Fitger’s 5K also used a modified course that started near the Kitchi Gammi Club and finished on the Lakewalk near the Fitger’s complex.

Organizers are hoping for a return to the more traditional Fitger’s course in 2022, and perhaps, more traditional mass start.

There were 900 people registered for the Fitger’s 5K with 775 people (260 men, 515 women) participating in person, making it the largest Young Athletes Foundation event since the pandemic. An additional 200 signed up to do the Fitger’s 5K virtually.

Net proceeds from the event benefit the YAF, a Grandma’s Marathon charitable program that promotes the development of youth sports in the region.

  • In a fun contrast of ages, Joren Weideman, 10, of Two Harbors, won the 5K men’s walk (or in this case, boy’s walk) in 42:00, while Anne Hegg, 70, of Grand Marais, took the 5K women’s walk in 41:27.

Fitger’s 5K
Downtown Duluth
Saturday’s Top 10 Results
1. Liam Fife, 21, New Prague, Minn., 16 minutes, 59 seconds
2. Henry Seeb, 22, Superior, 17:06
3. Jesse Prince, 40, Bemidji, Minn., 17:06
4. Ethan Anderson, 20, Duluth, 17:21
5. Josh Blankenheim, 40, Duluth, 17:49
6. Jake Mertz, 17, Cloquet, 17:50
7. Benjamin Mackay, 38, Grand Rapids, 18:08
8. Charlie Juntunen, 16, Duluth, 18:11
9. Thomas Stambaugh, 60, Nevis, Minn., 18:27
10. Jacob Brown, 35, Duluth, 18:30

1. Katherine Hoffman, 23, Minneapolis, 19:05
2. Emily Wartman, 34, Duluth, 19:07
3. Sonny Jenkins, 27, Duluth, 19:33
4. Tiffany Kari, 40, Duluth, 19:34
5. Keegan McAuliffe, 17, Duluth, 20:21
6. Lisa Filzen, 31, Hermantown, 20:55
7. Laura Hellmuth, 40, Minot, N.D., 21:21
8. Sarah Godfrey, 34, Minneapolis, 21:49
9. Sarah Anderson, 44, Superior, 21:51
10. Aurora Kothe, 36, Duluth, 22:03


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