April Sorensen half marathon ‘is a blessing’

Published 10:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008

About nine months after their plans began for the April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon — and more than a year since their beloved April Sorensen was brutally murdered — April’s father, Jon Larson, and her sister, Holly Larson, say they can’t believe the day of the race has actually arrived.

Scheduled Saturday to begin at 8 a.m. in Albert Lea, the half-marathon will run along scenic Albert Lea Lake and finish in Hayward, in collaboration with Hayward Days.

The race will honor April, 27, who was found murdered upstairs in her home in northwest Rochester on April 17, 2007, after a man arriving there to perform routine pre-scheduled maintenance work saw heavy smoke through a window in the home.

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After her body was found, the Olmsted County Coroner said that April had died as a result of “both blunt and sharp force injury” and that a fire was set afterward to cover the crime. The murder attracted immense media attention, high-dollar amount rewards and the follow-up of several leads.

While the search for her killer continues, April’s family is asking others to remember her by running.

April, an Albert Lea High School graduate, was known as a good athlete, especially in volleyball and basketball, and she individually finished three marathons with her father and sister, along with relay marathons and numerous smaller races.

Jon said when April was alive the family had always talked about planning their own race someday. When she died, they worked hard to make those ideas come to fruition.

From the other races they’ve participated in, Jon and Holly said they knew planning a half-marathon was going to be a large undertaking. But they have been very organized and have had lots of help along the way.

Susie Petersen, executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said as of earlier this week there were 212 people registered for the run. And she wouldn’t be surprised if there were several more who registered the actual morning of the event as well, she noted.

“It’s a beautiful run,” Petersen said.


5 to 9 p.m.: Registration and packet pickup at Country Inn & Suites in Albert Lea


6 to 7:15 a.m.: Registration and packet pickup at Country Inn & Suites in Albert Lea

8 a.m.: Race start

10:30 a.m.: Awards presentation

From what she’s aware of, she said there will be lots of friends and family participating in the event, along with many other people who just love to run.

The race is USA Track and Field certified and sanctioned.

“This is going to be an event that’s going to grow each year, she said. “For our community to have this and for our community to be behind this, it’s just a blessing.”

Jon said on the day of the race he will be “missing (April) running with us, missing her smile … just missing her, I guess.”

Holly added, through tears: “I’ll miss her energy and her upbeat attitude — getting everyone pumped up to run.”

Each person who finishes the race will receive a finisher’s medal and a T-shirt.

The first place finisher, both male and female, will receive $500, second place will receive $250, and third place $100.

The awards ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m.


Evening: Softball tournament begins at city ball field


6 a.m.: Korner Cafe open for business, serving breakfast

8 a.m.: The April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon begins in Albert Lea and will conclude at the Hayward Hall. Refreshments and food available for runners and spectators

8 a.m.: Softball tournament continues throughout the day

8 a.m.: Garage sales at homes throughout the city

8 a.m.: Bake sale at Hayward Lutheran Church until 11 a.m.

9 a.m.: Volleyball tournament begins at the city park, south of the school building. Memorial Run participants begin to arrive at the Hayward Hall

10 a.m.: Lunch served at Hayward Lutheran Church until 1 p.m. Concession stands available near the Hayward Hall. Korner Cafe open

10:30 a.m.: The April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon Awards Ceremony at Hayward Hall

11 a.m.: Registration begins for the Mud Bog, sponsored by the Hayward Fire Department. Site is located west of the school building. Korner Cafe open, serving burger baskets into the afternoon

Noon: The Mud Bog begins

4 p.m.: Street band begins playing outside Julio’s Bar on Main and Front streets. Concession stand and tables available outside, east of the cafe

8 p.m.: Street dance begins and goes until 1 a.m. Beer garden by Julio’s Bar


8 a.m.: Softball tournament continues throughout the day

9:15 a.m.: Coffee hour at the Hayward Lutheran Church, 200 Main St. All are invited

10 a.m.: Outdoor worship on the west lawn of the Hayward Church. Includes “A Concert of Hope” by Roy Hope and his songs of inspiration.

April’s husband, Joshua Sorensen, or Holly will speak to the participants and award the prizes.

Jon wanted to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers for the event, along with anyone else who may be helping out in any way.

The money raised from the event will go toward prizes in the race, as well as bike racks, benches, wastebaskets or pavilions along the bike trail.

To see more about the half-marathon go online to www.livelaughloverun.com.