The Pumpkin Run & Walk scored a perfect 10 this past weekend!
On a warm October morning, the second-largest field in Pumpkin Run race history included 368 registered runners and walkers who participated in the 11th annual Pumpkin Run and Walk Five‑Kilometer Race held at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet on Saturday, October 22. The race featured a former men’s division champion capturing the overall men’s title and a first-time champion winning the women’s overall title, plus one age-group record on a great morning for running.
“I give the Pumpkin Run a 10,” said Sarah Stahl, a first-time Pumpkin Run participant from Gilbert, MN. “I was impressed with everything, from the organized packet pick-up process to the quality long-sleeve finishers’ tee-shirt to the great course that was well-marked and full of volunteers, plus the fantastic sponsors and the unique prizes. Kudos to a well-organized, well-executed race. Extra kudos to the timing crew for the emails with our race results sent within five minutes of finishing, and the email with great finish line photos the same evening blew me away! Thank you again for a great race, we look forward to running again next year!”
Six-time Pumpkin Run Champion Eric Hartmark of Duluth coasted easily ahead of all runners to the finish in a time of 16:49.  Ethan Komoroski of Minneapolis was second overall in 17:28, and Eric Nordgren of Duluth was third in 18:21. Sixty-one-year-old Randy Wiianen of Iron, MN, was fourth overall in 19:25, and Duluth 16-year-old Stevie Scott captured fifth place in 19:39.
A first-time Pumpkin Run champion was crowned in the women’s overall division, as Samantha Anderson of Wrenshall passed frontrunner Stephanie Wisniewski of Duluth in the final steps of the race for the win. Anderson’s winning time of 22:07 edged Wisniewski by 1.5 seconds, and returning 2015 Pumpkin Run Women’s Champion Amy Flessert of Superior was third in 22:34. Former Cloquet resident Alisha Bradley was fourth in 23:00, and Joy Class of Mahtowa was fifth in 23:49 in what proved to be a competitive women’s field.
One age group record was established this year. Sara Cherne of Duluth established the new mark at 27:58 in the women’s 60-69 age group. The previous record was 28:48 by Sharon Archambault of Moose Lake set in 2013.
“You could tell it was going to be a great race when people were getting ready before the start,” said Tom Urbanski, FDLTCC director of public information and who also serves as the Pumpkin Run race director.  “Our campus commons was full with excited racers having fun and checking out the costumes, and the perfect weather was a bonus. The runners and walkers brought a fabulous amount of enthusiasm to the Pumpkin Run, making this year’s race one of our best.”
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 including the Andrew Kozelouzek Family of Cloquet in their Star Wars outfits, the Flies with Ties crew representing the Cloquet Middle School, Shelley DeCaigny and Kristin Clark of Cloquet as 1980s fitness gurus Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda, Alvin Savela from Duluth and his Box of Crayons, and the foursome of Pink Flying Pigs made up of Jillian and Justine Anderson of Wright and Megan and Julia Hattenberger of Barnum. Rayanna Kehtel and Ember Kehtel of Duluth won the final costume prize as a Pumpkin and Ghost.
Another Pumpkin Run tradition is awarding medals to the fastest Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College students in the race. This year, Ryan Bradley of Duluth repeated as the men’s division winner in 20:00, and Amarah Parks of Carlton won the women’s division in 27:30.
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 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, UCare Minnesota, 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.
Complete race results are available at www.gopherstateevents.com and a photo gallery is posted on the college Facebook page.
2016 Pumpkin Run 5K Results
Top 15 Men
1 Eric Hartmark 16:49, Duluth
2 Ethan Komoroski 17:28, Minneapolis
3 Eric Nordgren 18:21, Duluth
4 Randy Wiianen 19:25, Iron
5 Stevie Scott 19:39, Duluth
6 Ryan Bradley 20:00, Duluth
7 Jesse Bahen 20:17, Cloquet
8 Ramy Luclee 20:28, Duluth
9 Tim Prosen 20:46, Esko
10 Roger Reinert 20:52, Duluth
11 Joe Schmitt 21:02, White Bear Lake
12 Chris Sieckert 21:21, Barnum
13 Darrell Miller 21:45, Duluth
14 Greg Williams 21:45, Thomson
15 Landin Jones 21:55, Esko
Top 15 Women
1 Samantha Anderson 22:07, Wrenshall
2 Stephanie Wisniewski 22:09, Duluth
3 Amy Flessert 22:34, Superior
4 Alisha Bradley 23:00, Duluth
5 Joy Class 23:49, Mahtowa
6 Amber Despot 24:09, Carlton
7 Annie Opseth 24:26, Duluth
8 Cheryl Bjerke 24:40, Hinckley
9 Sara Prosen 24:44, Esko
10 Araya Kiminski 25:26, Cloquet
11 Macie Majerle 25:28, Cloquet
12 Jamie Jazdzewski 25:52, Cloquet
13 Amy Olesen 25:54, Wrenshall
14 Claire Rosen 25:55, Cloquet
15 Jenny Menart 26:04, Eveleth

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