Vasa Trail Run: 5K, 10K, 25K. Sat. Nov 11, Vasa Trail Head, Traverse City

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Race director, Jen Teeples, and Running Fit, welcomed over 250 runners, walkers and dogs to 2017 Vasa Trail Run 5K, 10K, 25K. Saturday, Nov 11, at the Vasa Trail Head, near Traverse City.  According to the website: Michigan’s premier cross-country trail is conducted through the pristine serenity of the Pere’ Marquette State Forest of Northern Michigan. Maintained by dedicated volunteers and supported by public donations, the Vasa Pathway is operated by the Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails. Named after King Gustav Vasa, a monarch in Sweden several centuries ago, the Vasa Pathway is also host to some of the Midwest’s most popular ski events. A portion of entry fees were to maintain the Vasa Pathway.

How old is the Vasa Run? 15 years? 20 years, older? No one is certain. But everyone is sure of the following: The Vasa Run is one of the area’s oldest trail runs. Running the Vasa trails, the racers experienced the beautiful, deeply wooded forest and the crystal clear streams. The Vasa trail is a great place to hold a race. Never mind the cold weather. Smiles were on everyone’s face as awards were handed out by Running Fit Race Coordinator, Randy Stepp. Results from the 2017 Vasa race can be found at this link; Vasa Trail Run 2017 Results

Let’s get right to my race “winners”. They weren’t the fastest runners but they are among the most dedicated. There is a lesson for us all when we meet Becca Nelson and Hillary Rymal, both 32, from Petoskey. Hillary lost 34 pounds after she started running only 3 months ago. Amazing weight loss! Becca is a Thyroid Cancer survivor. Becca discovered her cancer in 2013 and received treatment. She is checked by her doctor every year. Today, she is cancer free! She started running “to feel healthy and normal again”. Looking at these women, you’d never guess Becca is a cancer survivor and Hillary lost weight. Congratulations on being my race “winners”. You are both a testament to the benefits of running. What is most amazing, until today, during my interview of these running buddies, Hillary had been unaware that Becca is a cancer survivor.

Bryce Kennedy, 43, from Kalkaska, is originally from New Zealand, 14 years ago. One can still hear Bryce’s New Zealand accent, if you listen carefully. Bryce runs to stay fit and to be able to eat more. Bryce is a manager at the TC Opera House during the Traverse City Film Festival. Thank you, Bryce for your service. Susi Rook, is a young 65, from Holt, MI. Susie runs “to keep my head on straight” and because she loves to run on trails. Dave Cary, 66, from Ann Arbor enjoys the trails. Both Susi and Dave ran the 25K. Eric McLean, 43, from TC, runs because he loves to get outside and to stay in shape.

Dr. Jim Woodburne (Woody), 77, is from TC. Woody recently mailed me something. I received from Woody my marathon certificate he had picked up from a race he and I ran back in the 80’s. The certificate turned out to be my personal marathon record. I had forgotten about this race. Why is Woody still running after a;; these years? “I run for salvation of my soul”, he says. Dr. Kate Woodburne, is Woody’s daughter-in-law. The Vasa distance is no problem for Kate. Kate runs ultra-marathons of 50K and more. Kate is an Audiologist. She runs to control weight and because running is exhilarating. Kate started running 15 years ago. Kate’s husband, Tim, 50, is a geologist who runs to stay in shape. They came to the Vasa Run from the Grand Rapids area. Sue Roersma, 60, from Comstock Park, ran the 10K. Sue runs for grief therapy after losing her brother and his wife. Sue should know the value about the benefits of running. She is a nurse and professionally sees many people who would benefit from running. Her husband, Jerry, 60, says his friends tell him due to running, he is the youngest 60-year-old they have ever seen. Charlie Whitmore, 60, from Wyandotte, lost 10 pounds. Running provides Charlie with the opportunity to enjoy a family activity with his daughter. Charlie’s daughter is Jackie Young, 33. Jackie is my “big loser” at the Vasa Run. She lost over 50 pounds after the birth of her first child. She continued running and became pregnant again and lost the weight again. Her boyfriend, Larry Strasser, 51, ran as a child. He was a member of the Wolverine Track Club with running “guru”, Robin Kerr. Larry has started running again and enjoys the sport even more.

Henry Hoffman, 53, of Grandville, MI, runs to stay fit, stay flexible, stay strong and “to overcome having only one arm,” and Henry jokingly adds, “so I can eat lots of chocolate, dark chocolate and shakes. Don’t ever give me a chocolate shake made with vanilla ice cream, only chocolate ice cream.” Kris Bullock, 55, of Bellaire, walked the 5K course with her two dogs, Guinness, 9, and Barkley, 7. Bill Swift, 74, of TC was running his 1065th race today. Congratulations, Bill. Former Vasa race director, Jeff Gaft, was a course marshal, assuring us of following the correct path. Thanks for your efforts, Jeff.

Diana Ladio, 30, won the 10K race. She beat all male and all female runners. What is amazing about Diana is that she suffered a knee injury last December, an injury requiring surgery. She re-started running in April. Diana has run five marathons including Boston in 2014. She has a marathon PR of 3:22! Diana is the fiddle player in The Moxie Strings, a band that recently returned from a global tour. Whenever I am able to catch their show, I have an invitation to join the group on blues harmonica. I have also played globally. It would be a blast!

Race director, Jen Teeples encourages you to participate with Running Fit next year at the Vasa Run. You will enjoy the experience and the course. In the meantime, catch the fabulous Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K and 10K at Timber Ridge January, 20, 2018. Remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Your author, Mickey Fivenson, has trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons and holds one marathon world record with his sons, Zack and Adam. Mickey is the former director of the National Cherry Festival Runs. Mickey’s doctors credit running toward surviving several strokes. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race, if you need tips on training, email mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot com. Mickey took third place in his age group, 70 -150. 

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