Runners and Walkers Take to the Streets for Fitger’s 5K

Over two thousand competed in the 30th Annual Race.

DULUTH, Minn.- For the 30th year, runners and walkers took over the streets of Duluth to complete the Fitger’s 5K Run and Walk, benefitting the Young Athletes Foundation.

The chilly race warms athletes up to run 26 miles at Grandma’s Marathon in June.

The airhorn sends off the first wave of runners, who take-off like a stampede.

Runners of all ages, moving together.

“Running’s a good thing to do and to try to set the example for these guys so that when they get older maybe they can do something healthy,” said Travis Mick, running with his wife and two sons. “Versus sitting on their phones.”

As they stretched and approached the starting line, all the runners had different goals.

“I ran my first one in 27 minutes and 11 seconds,” said Noah, Travis’s son, about to start his second 5K. “So I’m just trying to get 27 minutes or less.”

“I’ll just try to keep up with him,” replied his dad.

2,182 runners and walkers are taken care of by more than 200 volunteers along the course.

“We get more enthusiasm out of helping, than running it!” said Don Mendoza, managing the volunteers handing out medals.

Just as soon as the race started, runners crossed the finish line about 15 minutes later.

“This is my first race in like 7 months,” said Scott Behling, the Men’s Division Champion, finishing with a time of 15:18.

“It was definitely nice to put the time on the paper, ’cause when I usually do workouts, I’m not really sure what I’m capable of.”

For some winners, it’s about plotting their progress.

For others, crossing that finish line is a sweet moment to savor.

“I’ve won a few races like, in cross country before,” said Women’s Division Champion Casey Hovland, winning her first ever Fitger’s 5K. “But we’ve never had the banner so I was just thinking how fun it was to finally do that.”

The sights along Lake Superior provide a familiar backdrop.

“Like, I’ve ran this road many times before with friends and people and I think it makes it a little more relaxing having the race course be something you’ve trained on,” Hovland said.

And the sound of residents’ cheers help the runners along the 3.1 mile course.

“It’s a great motivator to keep going when I hear my name along the course,” said Behling. “‘Cause I know a lot of people around town, being from Duluth.”

That support is characteristic of the 5K.

“Notice the community coming together, and enthusiasm, and the sponsorship, and great sportsmanship, and everything,” Mendoza said.

And it shows both off, and on the course.

“You’re competing against people,” said Hovland, “but in the end you’re in the same boats and you’re helping each other out.”

“Get to that finish line and reach your goals.”

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