“Fun, Run & Walk” Rocks into the 4th of July!

The 31st Annual West River Health Services Foundation’s “Fun, Run & Walk” was literally rockin’ with music, as new West River Paramedic, Chris South, provided DJ Music with awesome smoke effects for all the 132 runners and walkers. Although the total participant count was down a little, the excitement and talent certainly was not!

Ted Uecker
WRHS Foundation

People were registering and purchasing Raffle Tickets right up to race time at 7:30am on the 4th of July. The first race was something new – a 1/4K Run, Walk or Stroller Ride – for youth boys and girls aged 5 and under. Starting at the Mirror Lake Dock and racing up through beautiful Mirror Lake Park, Walker Hermann was the first boy through the finish line and Ryan Shahan was the champion girl. Immediately following the first-ever 1/4K, was the Youth 1K Run for Youth aged 6-11. Justin Burkhalter from Prairie City paced the young boys age 6-8 in a time of 4:30, while Palmer Mack from Scranton won first place for the girls in 5:45. The 9-11 boys and girls were nip and tuck, as Owen Anderson, a former Hettinger youth now living in Wastaagal, Washington, blitzed the course in 4:07! Esther Burkhalter was on his heels and took the girls 9-11 crown in 4:08. Wow! Those Burkhalter kids must come out of the womb running!
After the Youth 1K Race, it was on to the Adult 3K race. Matt Shahan, CEO at West River, got things started with a bang, and the runners took it from there. Ismael Arzola from Lemmon, SD and Dickinson State University crossed the finish line first and won the Male 17-29 Division in a time of 11:05, barely outdistancing the amazing South Dakota State runner, Daniel Burkhalter. His brother, Jonathan Burkhalter, who placed 3rd in the mile and two mile at the SD State Track & Field Championships this past spring, had the fastest time for the Male 12-16 year old group in 12:21. Hometown distance runner Sidra Sadowsky won the Female 12-16 year old Division in 15:24. Kindall Seamands from Wright, WY, daughter of former Hettinger wrestling star Chuck Seamands, won the Female 17-29 Division. Scott Waldron from Waconia, MN crossed the tape in 14:32 and local grinder Katie Graham in 17:52 to win the 30-49 Male/Female Divisions. Local City Council leader Curt Drolc garnered top honors in the 50+ Male category in 21:04 and former Hettinger High athlete, Jodi Uecker, now from Mesa, Arizona, crossed the line in 22:34, for the Female 50+ Division.
Ismael Arzola and Sidra Sadowsky were our Overall Fastest Male & Female Runners of the day. Connie Hermann, longtime Fun Runner, was once again the most Senior Runner and local Linda Stippich, the most Senior Walker. Craig Tuhy won the Clydesdale Award with a time of 17:52. We think we might need to bring a scale next year – as he’s getting pretty trim with all this running! He puts on lots of miles – literally! Our Youngest Overall Runner was Jaxon Peake and our Youngest Overall Walker was Zeke Lindquist. The Burkhalter Tribe of 15 (13 kids and mom/dad) once again won the Family Participation Award with their entourage of amazing runners. We think there might be some challenges for this Family Award next 4th of July, 2020 (which is on aSaturday, by the way!)
Of course, medals were awarded to all of the winners in their respective categories and all of the youth received blue Fun, Run & Walk headbands! Everyone received free bananas (thank you sponsor Kennedy’s Fresh Foods) and free water (thank you sponsor Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company) following the races.
In addition to the fantastic running and walking, West River Health Services Foundation also sponsored a $5 raffle ticket to raise more funds for top-notch healthcare and healthy activities in the local area. Over 400 raffle tickets were sold, which helped us raise an additional $2,010 and the winners were:
Kayak (sponsored by Berry Boys & Ness Kids)– Brennen Friebel; Bicycle (Donated by Uecker Yards) – Stacy Chadwick; Mizuno Running Shoes (Gifted by Jeremy Galbreth) – Callie Timm and Payton Tuhy; $200 Running’s Gift Card – Sue Bentsen; $50 Smith’s Drug Gift Cards –Mike Marion and Ron Havelka; $50 Scheel’s Gift Card – Jezelle Salazar.
Over $5,000 gross was raised from Fun Run & Walk registrations, sponsorships and raffle ticket sales. The Fun Run & Walk Committee will meet within the next three weeks to determine where all of the net proceeds go. We will report back to the public with our decisions. Thank you for supporting our event, whether through volunteering, running, walking, sponsorships, purchasing or selling raffle tickets!
Special thanks to all of the Fun Run & Walk Sponsors including: Eye Clinic of ND, Mark Nelson, Pathology Consultants, Stippich Inc., Twin City Roofing, Vogel Law Firm and previously mentioned sponsors. Thanks to the Granary for the terrific location and registration venue. Mainly, thank you to our many volunteers, runners and walkers. Without you, we have nothing. Thank you. Together we are making a difference for our local healthcare and our local communities. We hope to see you at the 32nd Annual Fun Run & Walk on July 4th, 2020! Same place, same time, more FUN!