Enthusiastic participants in the 12th annual Pumpkin Run & Walk didn’t let morning rain showers dampen the spirit and fun of the event this past weekend!
On an unseasonably warm October morning, the large race field included 324 registered runners and walkers who participated in the Pumpkin Run and Walk Five Kilometer Race held at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet on Saturday, October 21, 2017. The race featured first-time Pumpkin Run winners in both the overall men’s division and the overall women’s division, plus five age-group records were broken on a great morning for running.
“We didn’t have rain during the race in the first 11 years we have been holding the Pumpkin Run & Walk,” said Tom Urbanski, FDLTCC director of public information and who also serves as the Pumpkin Run race director. “I guess we were overdue to have less-than-perfect weather, but it didn’t seem to bother our race participants and everyone was still having fun. Conditions were great for racing as we had five age-group records broken this year.”
Overall winner Jordan Koski of Superior won with a time of 16:31, upsetting six-time Pumpkin Run Champion Eric Hartmark of Duluth who finished second in 16:42. David Hypponen of Duluth was third in 17:34, Edward Martin of Superior was fourth in 18:15, and 50-year-old Robert Daiss of Cloquet captured fifth place in 18:30.
A first-time Pumpkin Run Champion was also crowned in the women’s overall division, as 13-year old Harmony Tracy of Canyon crossed the finish line in 20:52 for the win, which also placed her ninth overall. Defending 2016 Pumpkin Run Women’s Champion Samantha Anderson of Wrenshall was second in 22:31, followed by another former Pumpkin Run Champion Amy Flessert of Superior in 23:36. Cloquet resident Gina Rockstad was fourth in 23:40, and another previous Pumpkin Run Champion Chris Dincau of Duluth was fifth in 23:41 in what proved to be a competitive women’s field.
The five age-group records established this year include overall winners Jordan Koski in the men’s 20-29 group and Harmony Tracy in the women’s 14 and under group. Tracy previously held the record set when she was 11 years old. Brock Bjerke, age 15 of Hinckley, broke the men’s 15-19 group record with a time of 19:03. Harry Cottrell of Hermantown, age 71, smashed the men’s 70 and over group record by more than eight minutes with a time of 21:38. Marilyn Schnobrich of Duluth, age 76, set the record of 29:53 in the women’s 70 and over group.
Race participants helped celebrate the theme and season of the Pumpkin Run event by wearing costumes or orange and black clothing. Competition was keen for the coveted Best Costume awards, with the winners covering a range of characters from rock-and-roll musicians ZZ Top to Hall and Oates, a Little Pumpkin and a set of Double Pumpkins, a multi-person Alice in Wonderland crew, plus an inflatable horse with rider, and a pair of Jellyfish.
Another Pumpkin Run tradition is awarding medals to the fastest Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College students in the race. This year, David Granholm of Cloquet was the men’s division winner in 47:00, and Cheryl Dahl of Superior, WI, won the women’s division in 39:59.
The race course started on campus and then followed 14th Street going south to the Valley View neighborhood and then turned around on Harner Lane and returned along 14th Street to the campus. The race was professionally timed by Gopher State Events using electronic chip timing attached to each participant’s race number bib, and individual results and a finish line photo were sent to each finisher immediately upon crossing the finish line.
The Pumpkin Run course is certified by US Track and Field and the results count for points in the annual Minnesota Runner of the Year standings.
Local businesses helped sponsor the race through prize and refreshment donations, including Super One Foods, Duluth Running Company, Tortoise & Hare Footwear, Austin Jarrow, Mellin Promotional Advertising, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Erbert & Gerbert’s, Culligan Water, Miller Vending, B&B Market, and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
Volunteers and race assistance was provided by Cloquet Police Department, Carlton County Transportation Department, FDLTCC Nursing and Law Enforcement program students, neighbors along the race route, and FDLTCC staff.