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Ring in the new year on a running note

Fundraiser to be held for North Side runners

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 12:01 am

With New Year’s Day coming in the middle of the week, runners have the perfect opportunity to close 2012 and open 2013 in the most perfect of fashions: running races.

Last Saturday’s HUFF 50K saw nearly 1,000 runners take part in one of three races (the 50K, one-loop 10-mile relay or the three-person 30-mile relay) over scenic trails amidst a perfect winter setting at Chain O’Lakes State Park near Albion. And this Saturday runners can begin the year with a short road race at North Side High School.

The Redskins Resolution Race 5K is a perfect way to begin your racing calendar: it’s a short, flat and fast course, great for establishing a fitness level.

“We hope people use it to see where they are in their training and then, in the summer, compare the time with another 5K road race like Runners on Parade,” said race director Andrew Schmitz. “Mostly, the race will be about having fun and starting the year off in a great way.”

Schmitz is the head boy’s cross country and track coach at North Side High School and is using the race as a fundraiser for the Redskins’ programs. The race will begin at 11 a.m. on the North Side track and then follow a course throughout the surrounding neighborhoods before finishing up on the track.

Pre- and post-race festivities will be held inside the North Side gymnasium. Plenty of food, awards and festivities will be part of the event. Race day registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

This was the second year for the HUFF to be held at Chain O’Lakes after 10-plus years in Huntington County. The change of venue has been a boon for runners, volunteers and spectators as the course and amenities are much more friendly. Last year runners dealt with flooding; this year it was snow and ice.

Winning the men’s race was Ohio’s Ryan Kienzle, who finished the 32-mile race in 3 hours, 50 minutes and 4 seconds, winning by 73 seconds over runner-up Brad Hinton of . Local runner Nick Sloffer was third in 4:05.09. Michigan’s Melanie Peters was the women’s winner in 4:21:30, good for ninth overall.

There were 342 finishers in the 50K.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Brett Hess at nssports@news-sentinel.com.