• Ronda Graff

Freedom stays on track with Holiday run

CULBERTSON, Neb. — The Freedom Run 5K/10K is a unique event for the Republican River Fitness Series in several ways. The race is one of the longest running races in the area; the Freedom Run draws a large number of families in town for the annual Culbertson Fourth of July Celebration; and there is always a chance that the race will come to a screeching halt mid-race. The route for the Freedom Run crosses railroad tracks south of Culbertson both on the way out and the way back. On Wednesday, the 16th annual race looked like it was going to pause for a few minutes - twice - as two trains passed by town shortly after the race started. But thankfully, two sets of tracks meant the runners just got to run close to the trains and the race continued uninterrupted. Ultimately, more than 120 runners and walkers finished either the 5K or 10K length at the 16th annual Freedom Run, which is sponsored by Community Hospital. The youth led the 5K distance, while the adults showed how fast they can cover 6.2 miles (10K). Leading the pack for the 5K was McCook High School cross-country stand-out, Riley Mai, who finished in 18:21 to claim overall winner and the men’s 19 and under division. Joslyn Hammond led the women’s division with a time of 24:50 to also claim the women’s 19 and under title. In the 10K, David Junker finished in 41:07 as the overall winner and the men’s 30-39 division. Staci Blomstedt crossed the finish line in 47:56 to claim overall women’s winner and the women’s 30-39 division. Other first-place finishers: 5K Women Age 19 and under, Joslyn Hammond, 24:50; 20-29, Aubrey Frederick, 25:06; 30-39, Angie Crayton, 28:46; 40-49, Erin Smotherman, 30:46; 50-59, Theresa Eschliman, 28:16; 60 and over, Sharon Beiber, 35:13 Men Age 19 and under, Riley Mai, 18:21; 20-29, Skyler Kalinski, 31:31; 30-39, Kevin Forch, 24:31; 40-49, David Earhart, 24:41; 50-59, Curt Swanhorst, 29:42; 60 and over, Marc Gilman, 28:27. 10K Women Age 19 and under, Kaley Hauxwell, 50:34; 30-39, Staci Blomstedt, 47:56; 40-49, Travi Rambali, 1;02; 50-59, Martha Chmiel, 1:00.17 Men Age 19 and under, Steven Hinze, 43:26; 20-29, Jonathan Solorzano, 42:07; 30-39, David Junker, 41:07; 40-49, Troy Swartz, 43:36; 50-59, Loren Wagner, 1:01.25; 60 and over, Ray Chmiel, 46.30 Complete results are available on the fitness series website. Next up for the Republican River Fitness Series is Randy’s Run on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Red Willow State Recreation Area. The trail run will have three entry options: individual 5K or individual half-marathon, or form a four-person team, where everyone runs a 5K to complete the half-marathon distance. More information about Randy’s Run and the fitness series is available online at www.republicanriverfitnessseries.com. The fitness series is a collaboration between the McCook YMCA and Community Hospital.

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