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April Sorenson Memorial Half Marathon had new route in 3rd year

In its third year, the April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon finally got the race route they were waiting for. With no time to spare.

The new route, which follows County Road 19 along Albert Lea Lake, wasn’t accessible the past two years due to road construction.

This year, County Engineer Sue Miller promised April’s dad, Jon Larson, it would be ready.

It was, the day before.

“Sue promised us it would either be complete or at least smooth,” said Larson of County Road 19. “It was completed, and that was very nice of them.”

The new route, which takes 810th Avenue north to the finish line in Hayward, in addition to being more scenic, had less hills than the previous route, resulting in happier runners.

“Runners commented that they liked this one better because it was more flat,” Larson said. “It was a faster track.”

Surprisingly, though, times weren’t lower.

“The fastest year was the first year,” Larson said.”

The Memorial Half Marathon, is in memory of April Sorensen, a Hayward native who at 27 years old was murdered in her home in Rochester. The case remains unsolved and the race is still just as emotional to run for April’s family as it was the first year.

“You think about April all the way,” said Larson of the race. “I know she would be running it, too.”

The idea for the half marathon came from April’s sister, Holly Larson, as the family brainstormed ways to honor April and raise money for the community.

The family chose the half marathon because it would be unique to Albert Lea and April loved running.

“Nothing around (Albert Lea) was a longer race,” Larson said. “It was all smaller races so we tried a half marathon. It seems to have taken off.”

This year’s marathon had 244 participants, slightly lower than last year, with 66 individual men, 90 individual women and 62 relayers, totaling 31 teams.

Even more impressive, though, were the over 150 volunteers and medical personal that allowed the runners to race safely.

“We had an excellent medical crew and excellent volunteers,” Larson said. “Now that we’re in our third year, we have enough veterans on both sides. It’s coming together like clockwork.”

The volunteers included spotters, water handlers, nurses and doctors. On the hot Saturday morning, all volunteers were equally important.

The entry fees for the half marathon go to the April Sorensen Foundation, a group that gives a total of eight $500 scholarships to graduating students of Albert Lea, Glenville-Emmons and Alden-Conger high schools. Larson also hopes the Blazing Star Bike Trail’s expansion to Hayward is completed soon so the foundation can donate to build facilities and equipment along the trail, including benches, restrooms and bike racks.

“Anything connoted to helping out with exercise,” Larson said.

The Larson family has already begun planing the fourth annual half marathon. Information can be found at www.livelaughrunlove.com, when it becomes available.

Top-10 finishers

Men:

Ben Merchant 1:12:51

Tim Hardy 1:15:22

Josh Schoen 1:16:44

Jeshua Erickson 1:30:10

Christian Folken 1:31:11

Paul Herzog 1:31:32

Brian Palmer 1:32:21

Gregg Vanderwaerdt 1:35:01

Tim Staloch 1:35:50

Alan Anderson 1:36:42

Women:

Kalyn Kruckenberg 1:36:40

Joni Borne 1:37:16

Summer Groth 1:38:29

Michele Asmus 1:45:11

Chris Hesse-Withbroe 1:46:40

Becca Lewis 1:46:48

Beth Palmer 1:49:08

Juana Raatz 1:51:39

Trystan Hansen 1:51:40

Tracy Wallace 1:52:03

Relay:

uni-llamas 1:36:06

Double Trouble 1:45:48

Beer Drinkin Hell Raisers 1:50:09

Honsey 1:50:19

Team Pirsig-McGill 1:51:15

Running on Empty 1:55:46

The Sweet Cheeks 1:58:11:58:12

The Running Cheetah’s 1:59:02

Jensen Girls 1:59:37

D.A.R.G. 2:02:14