• Ronda Graff

Fitness Series wraps up with Reindeer Run

It’s always risky holding a race in December in Nebraska, where snow and freezing temperatures are always a possibility. Thankfully, runners and walkers at the fourth annual Reindeer Run on Saturday faced just a few patches of snow and mud but had nearly perfect running weather.

Nearly 50 people wound their way around Barnett Park south of McCook, traversing sand and grass, following paths through the trees and along the roadway.

McCook’s David Junker, donning a pink bunny outfit (aka. A Christmas Story movie), held off North Platte runner Wayne Wallace to claim first place with a time of 23.51. Wallace finished in 23.58. Staci Blomstedt was not far behind at 24.26 as the women’s overall winner.

Top finishers for the 2018 Reindeer Run were:

Women, 19 and under, Sammy Jo Rodewald, 25:36; 20-29, Ashley Ambrosek, 27:31; 30-39, Staci Blomstedt, 24:26; 40-49, Tonya Koeppen, 27:26; 50-59, Malinda Hayes, 27:31; 60 and over, Sharon Beiber

Men, 19 and under, Blake Rodwald, 26:49; 20-29, Nathan Frantz, 39:26; 30-39, Mike Farr, 25:22; 40-49, David Junker, 23:51; 50-59, Ray Chmiel, 30:23; 60 and over, Wayne Wallace, 23:58

With all 11 events as part of the Republican River Fitness Series wrapped up, RRFS organizers are asking anyone who participated in a fitness series event this year to check results for accuracy. Please send any changes to rgraff@mccookymca.org.

The end-of-the-season banquet will be in January, where those who placed in the top five in their age division will be honored. Those who participated in the at least nine of the 11 events will receive a RRFS jacket.

The 2019 fitness series calendar will be finalized in the new few weeks, but that doesn’t mean

there isn’t anything to do.

The First Day Hike is Tuesday, Jan. 1, at Red Willow Lake State Recreation Area. There is no charge or registration, but participants must have a 2019 state park permit. Just show up at 1 p.m. for a casual hike on trails around the lake, a great, healthy way to start off the New Year.

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