Runner blows away course record

The runners start their journey in the 5K race that was held as part of the Run New Prague festivities on Saturday, May 11. Click on the blue button at bottom right for more photos.

    Cold, windy conditions didn’t deter 847 runners from showing up for the New Prague Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K races Saturday, May 11. And while it may have slowed him some, the wind didn’t stop Jason Lehmkhule of Minneapolis from setting a new course record.
    Lehmkhule ran the 13.1 mile half-marathon course in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 25 seconds. The top woman finisher was Trisha Moore of Minneapolis, who finished in 1:27:10.
    Just an hour before the 8 a.m. start of the race, conditions looked ideal for the runners - cool and calm. But as race time approached, the winds picked up and continued to blow during the race. The strongest gusts came from the northwest, hitting the runners straight on as they were heading back into New Prague.
    Last year’s winner, Jeff Metzdorff of St. Paul, chose to run the new 10K race this year. He won the race in 35:27. His sister-in-law, Anne Yetzer of Lakeville, was the top woman finisher in 42:03.
    George Matumah of Minneapolis won the 5K event in 18:38. Rebekah Metzdorf of St. Paul, Jeff’s wife and Anne Yetzer’s sister and also a former half-marathon winner, won the 5K women’s race in 19:06.
    In addition to the three big races, there was also a Kid’s Fun Run that had more than 200 youngsters registered. The fun run had half-mile and one-mile options.
    New Prague Chamber of commerce Executive Director Kristy Mach said she got some great feedback from runners, who were delighted with the perks that came with running, including the addition of kolacky to the treats available for runners after the race.
    “A lot of them said the wind over the last six miles was brutal,” Mach said. “As soon as they turned the corner it started hitting them in the face.”
    And to make matters worse, around 10 a.m., with a number of runners still on the course, it began to sleet. Fortunately, that ended within a few minutes, but given the weather the area has seen this spring, it should not have been unexpected.
    Mach said the 10K race went very well. “We recognized that we had a few signage issues that will need to be addressed, but otherwise it went well.”
    Top New Prague runners in the half-marathon were Dan Novak, top male, in 1:38:07. top female was Maggie Hennen in 1:41:46.
    Top New Prague runners in the 10K were Kiffin Deihl, male, 42:43, and Rachel Wormer, female, 48:49.
    Top New Prague runners in the 5K were Rick Bell, male, 20:51 and Hannah McWilliams, female 23:53.