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RunningICONMatt Urbanski, 32, of Seattle, Wash., battled wind chills hovering a sliver above 0 and almost 6 inches of new snow to win the inaugural Groundog Marathon Saturday in Grand Rapids.

Urbanski completed six laps of the loop course along the Grand River through Millennium Park in 2:58:33 to finish first in a field of 143.

Jake Gillette, 26, of Goshen, Ind., finished second, over 13 minutes back of Urbanski in 3:12:34.

Groundhog-Standing2

Despite conditions, Urbanski loss less than 5 minutes off the Boston Marathon qualifying time he ran last June in 60-degree temperatures at the Vancouver USA Marathon where he finished fifth overall in a field 567.

Top finisher in the 42-runner women’s marathon field was Lisa Altman, 38, of St. Joseph, who was 17th overall just under an hour behind Urbanski in 3:58:08. Last May 20 in Bay City, Altman ran a personal best 3:09:54 at The Qualifier Marathon on day when temperatures soared above 90 degrees. Altman finished over 12 minutes ahead of women’s runner-up Laura Waldo, 49, of Ludington, who finished in 4:11:40.

Check out the Groundhog Marathon’s facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/GroundhogMarathon?ref=ts&fref=ts

Evan Groendyk, 26, of Grand Rapids, topped a field of 235 brave souls in the half marathon, finishing in 1:29:44. Runner-up Bret Austin, 46, of Edgerton, Wisc., was hot on Groendyk’s heels, finishing just 28 seconds back in 1:30:12.

Grand Rapids’ Janet Becker, 39, finished 9th overall in 1:44:15, topping a half marathon field of 119 women by a cool 7:45 over runner-up Christen McCool, 32, of Portage.

Hudsonville’s Matt Mehalko, 30, won the 1/6 marathon (4 1/3 miles for the distance math challenged) in 33:12.23. Jackie Green, 27, of Grand Rapids was 6th overall in the 55-runner field in 38:08.14.

For complete results of the 2013 Groundhog’s Day Marathon visit: http://results.active.com/events/groundhog-s-day-marathon

 

Sgt. Preston-Yukon King 5K winner Alex Myer of Scottville nears the finish at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex on New Year's Day 2013.

Sgt. Preston-Yukon King 5K winner Alex Myer of Scottville nears the finish at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex on New Year’s Day 2013.

With three straight Sgt. Preston-Yukon King 5K wins under his belt, there was no question Whitehall’s Greg Madendorp was fast.

How the 20-year-old Grand Valley State sophomore would fare over the landmark Block House Hill on the race’s 6-mile long course was an unknown until Tuesday.

Greg Madendorp

Greg Madendorp

“That’s definitely a hill,” Madendorp said New Year’s Day after adding yet another signature local race to his resume with a winning time of 33:29.

“I’ve run that hill a few times in training, but never in a race.”

Madendorp’s 5:35 pace was the fastest over the long course since at least 2007. A near event record combined field of 395 entrants included 138 finishers in the 6-mile run. The largest ever field for the Sgt. Preston Run was 403 entrants in 2011.

Madendorp trailed early leader Zacary Benham, 15, of Twin Lake, up and over Block House  Hill and continued to hang back until about the 4-mile mark (the same cagey tactics he used to win the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival 10K in July).

Madendorp surged into the lead when the course flattened out after the turn off Memorial Drive onto Peterson Road.

The footing, which had been good until that point, began to deteriorate on Peterson and grew treacherous on the homestretch, Madendorp said. “Fenner Road was bad, really icy,” he said.

"Brownie" a miniature Australian shepherd considers running in the 2014 Sgt. Preston -Yukon King Run with owner Jon Klimowicz

“Brownie” a miniature Australian shepherd considers running in the 2014 Sgt. Preston -Yukon King Run with owner Jon Klimowicz

Madendorp’s grip on the race lead never slipped once he went to the front. Benham finished second in 34:15 with 18-year-old Tyler Green of Fremont hot on his heels in 34:18.

Grand Haven’s Emily Thomas, 21, won her second straight women’s 6-mile title on Tuesday, finishing in 39:01. Lindsay Neal, 19, of North Muskegon, was second in 40:34, and Chelsea Ringer, 21, of Kent City, took third in 40:56.

5K

After  a couple injury-plagued seasons, men’s 5K winner Alex Myers, 17, of Scottville, got his 2013 race season off on the right foot.

“I’ve been broken for a couple years, but I’m trying to rise back up to the top of my game,” said Myers, a senior at Mason County Central, who hopes he has finally recovered from a series of stress fractures to a small bone in his foot.

Myers led the 5K field of 217 finishers across the line in 17:59. “I thought it would be faster,” Myer said. “A couple of patches were icy, but nothing to gripe about.”

Alex Myer

Alex Myer

Although injuries have hampered him since 2010 when he was 27th overall in 23:54, the Sgt. Preston remains one of his favorite races, Myers said. “This is a great race. It’s always well put on and they always have everything you need.”

Jonathan Studer, 20, of Sault St. Marie, Mich., was second overall in 18:13 and Jeffery Kuhl, 21, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., was third in 18:54.

Since she’s been 6-years-old, there’s never been much mystery where Avery Lowe would be spending New Year’s Day. The daughter of race committee member Clayton Lowe  has won her age group more times than she can remember and finished second overall by a slim eight seconds last year. She added the women’s overall title to her trophy case on Tuesday.

Avery Lowe

Avery Lowe

“I tried to start farther up than I usually did, but I came a little bit from behind,” said Lowe, a sophomore all-stater in cross country.

12th overall in 20:56, Lowe had a winning margin of 16 seconds over runnerup Kayla Rosi, 18, of Bristol, Ind. (21:12). Svetla Walsh, 19, of Twin Lake, was third in 21:49.

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For complete race results visit Runner’s Edge Race Timing.

 

Auld Lang Syne (Should old acquaintance be forgot…)

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The second largest field in the history of the area’s oldest race was short three important people New Year’s Day – Jack Kroeze and Hank & Carole Austin.

In the 39 years since he helped establish the Sgt. Preston-Yukon King 6-mile & 5K Run, Kroeze’s face had become such a familiar fixture at the race that at least one runner was certain she saw him in the crowd loitering near the entrance to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex before the start of Tuesday’s race.

An avid cyclist who’d logged well over 40,000 miles over a lifetime of riding, Kroeze’s fitness masked the symptoms of a serious illness until shortly before he died in November at age 75, said Clayton Lowe who, with Kroeze, helped establish what has become one of the longest-running New Year’s races in the country. Kroeze completed every River Bank Run since the first one 35 years ago, finishing his last in 3:08.43 in May.

Jack Kroeze

Jack Kroeze

The Austins, too, were regulars at the race as both volunteers and participants. “My uncle Hank got me started running,” said Jeff Fleckenstein, 42, of Sebastian, Fla., following Tuesday’s race. In town visiting friends and family, Fleckenstein ran wearing a t-shirt bearing a photograph of the Austins. “This was great way to pay tribute. It’s first time I’ve done anything like this. I thought a lot about them during the race.”

The Austins died in August in an aircraft accident.

 

Greg Madendorp surged into the lead for good with two miles left in the 39th Sgt. Preston Yukon King 6-mile run today at the Muskegon State Park.

The landmark New Year’s Day’s 5K and 6-mile races

67278_112885612108183_2694475_nattracted the largest ever combined field of 396 runners. However three familiar faces were missing who helped make the local race a more important tradition for local runners than the countdown on New Year’s Eve: Race co-founder Jack Kroeze and long-time supporters Hank and Carole Austin. All three died in 2012.

Madendorp’s win in 33:29 Tuesday gave the 20-year-old Grand Valley State sophomore from Whitehall

yet another iconic local title. Winner of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Run in July, Madendorp won the last three Sgt. Preston 5K titles before winning the 6-mile today.

Used to the 5K’s pancake flat course, Madendorp waited until after the long, challenging grind over the 6-mile run’

 

s landmark Block House Hill to make the winning move today. “It’s definitely a hill,” said Madendorp with a grin at the finish. “I’ve run it a few times but never in a race.” Footing on hill was good, Madendorp said, but deteriorated over the final mile of the long course. “Fenner Road was bad, really icy,” he said.

Emily Thomas, 21, of Grand Haven was the women’s 6-mile winner in 39:01.

After two injury-plagued seasons, Alex Meyers, 17, of Scottville, got 2013 off on the right foot by winning the 5K in 17:59. North Muskegon’s Avery Lowe, daughter of race co-founder Clayton Lowe and a regular in the event since age 6, was the women’s overall 5K winner in 20:59.

For complete race results visit Runner’s Edge Race Timing.

[The latest on J. Lindsey Dood’s top masters’ finish at Sunday’s Chicago Marathon – posted at 7:30  p.m., Monday, Oct. 8).

Top Michigan masters finisher in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Grand Rapids businessman J. Lindsey Dood, 47, cruised across the finish less than 25 minutes after the top American, Rockford native Dathan Ritzenhein, finished ninth overall.

J. Lindsey Dood

Dood was the fourth over-40 runner to finish and second Michigan finisher among over 1,600 runners from the state in the race.

Despite running with a not quite completely healed toe he broke on Labor Day, Dood, who earlier this summer won the USATF Masters Men 45-49 10K title, finished 84th overall Sunday in 2:32:10.

“I ran with it wrapped up,” Dood said from his office Monday. “They said it would take six weeks to heal and it’s been five weeks since I broke it. It feels fine today.”

The 29-year-old Ritzenhein’s 2:07:47 was less than 3 minutes off 25-year-old Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede’s winning time of 2:04:38.

The only Michigan runner to finish ahead of Dood was elite runner Drew Polley, 26, of Rochester Hills. Polley, who ran a sub-2:15 at the Olympic trials, finished 20th overall in 2:15:12.

A former Hope College standout, Dood’s time was almost 14 minutes faster than his previous best in Chicago (2:46:39 in 2001) and lowered his personal best (2:36:04 in Grand Rapids in 2004) by almost 4 minutes.

Dood credits running coach Brendan Martin with his improvement.

“I had gotten stuck in a rut last year. I was just running alone. I tried to get on track and just couldn’t go anywhere. That’s when I knew I needed some assistance. “Instead of just following Hal Higdon’s program like I had been, I hired Brendan and have been training in a more disciplined way. I get more feedback in terms of the workouts and what’s coming next. Brendan has challenged me with more mileage than Higdon suggests.”

Despite missing nearly two weeks of training, Dood nearly reached his goal of finishing in 2:30:45. A late-summer respiratory ailment left him feeling like, “I’d never run a day in my life,” Dood said. The broken toe also meant lost training time. “It all contributes to getting to the starting line,” Dood said. “God uses all these things to come together in some way, shape or form.”

Dood was 76th overall among the 20,688 men who finished the race in under 8 hours. Of more the 45,000 entrants, 37,455 finished in under 8 hours.

Dood finished second among men 45-49 behind masters champ Mohammed El Yamani, 48, of Issy Les Moulineau, France. El Yamani won the men’s 45-49 title in 2:24:43.

As closely as Dood followed Martin’s advice leading up to the race, he ignored it the day after. “I got up this morning and jogged two miles,” Dood said. “Brendan wouldn’t be happy if he knew. He favors complete rest for a long period after a race. I like to run each morning. It helps me focus on the rest of my life.”

Another Grand Rapidian, 26-year-old Mike Roth, was among the top Michiganders to finish on Sunday, crossing the line 100th overall in 2:34:35 to finish 17th among men 20-24.

Karen Meraw, 27, of Ann Arbor, was Michigan’s fastest age group woman in the race, crossing in 3:09:31, good for 153rd overall among the 16,767 women to complete the race in less than 8 hours.

For complete results visit the Chicago Marathon website: 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Top 20 age group finishes by Michigan runners are:

MEN

16-19 – 14, Adam Powlus, 16, Canton, 3:27:59. 45-49 – 4, Rich Power, 48, Rochester, 2:39:53. 50-54 – 13, John Arsen, Rochester, 53, 2:52:51. 55-59 – 13, James Madden, 55, Orchard Lake, 3:07:17. 80 & older – 2, Robert Ferguson 81, St. Joseph, 6:44:27.

WOMEN

16-19  – 14, Mende Gleiss, Clarkston, 3:46:46. 50-54 – 15, Susan Rosemurgy, 52, Hancock, 3:28:53. 65-69 – 8, Diane Boehlke, 65, Grand Rapids, 4:41:51.

J. Lindsey Dood

Top Michigan finisher in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Grand Rapids businessman J. Lindsey Dood, 47, cruised across the finish less than 25 minutes after the top American, Rockford native Dathan Ritzenheim, finished ninth overall.

Dood, who earlier this summer won the USATF Masters Men 45-49 10K title, finished 84th overall Sunday in 2:32:10. The 29-year-old Ritzenheim’s 2:07:47 was less than 3 minutes off 25-year-old Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede’s winning time of 2:04:38.

A former Hope College standout, Dood’s time was almost 14 minutes faster than his previous best in Chicago (2:46:39 in 2001) and lowered his personal best (2:36:04 in Grand Rapids in 2004) by almost 4 minutes.

Dood was 76th overall among the 20,688 men who finished the race in under 8 hours. Of more the 45,000 entrants, 37,455 finished in under 8 hours.

Dood finished second among men 45-49 behind Mohammed El Yamani, 48, of Issy Les Moulineau, France. El Yamani won the men’s 45-49 title in 2:24:43.

Another Grand Rapidian, 26-year-old Mike Roth, was the second of 1,655 Michiganders to finish on Sunday, crossing the line 100th overall in 2:34:35 to finish 17th among men 20-24.

Karen Meraw, 27, of Ann Arbor, was the fastest Michigan woman in the race, crossing in 3:09:31, good for 153rd overall among the 16,767 women to complete the race in less than 8 hours.

For complete results visit the Chicago Marathon website: 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Top 20 age group finishes by Michigan runners are:

MEN

16-19 – 14, Adam Powlus, 16, Canton, 3:27:59. 45-49 – 4, Rich Power, 48, Rochester, 2:39:53. 50-54 – 13, John Arsen, Rochester, 53, 2:52:51. 55-59 – 13, James Madden, 55, Orchard Lake, 3:07:17. 80 & older – 2, Robert Ferguson 81, St. Joseph, 6:44:27.

WOMEN

16-19  – 14, Mende Gleiss, Clarkston, 3:46:46. 50-54 – 15, Susan Rosemurgy, 52, Hancock, 3:28:53. 65-69 – 8, Diane Boehlke, 65, Grand Rapids, 4:41:51.

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