Posted: May 10th 2009
The Argus-Leader reports on the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer. Senator John Thune was one of nearly 5,000 participants.
Cool temperatures under sunny skies made for great racing Saturday.
But the most impressive times at the 21st annual Avera Race Against Breast Cancer might not have been those of the top finishers.
It took nearly 5,000 runners 4 minutes, 30 seconds and walkers 14 minutes to clear the starting lines Saturday morning in the Sioux Falls rite of spring. The event last year raised $280,000 for programs supporting cancer victims and is expected to top that amount this year.
Sen. John Thune ran the race for the first time, touring the 5K course in a speedy 19 minutes, 43 seconds. That result put him just ahead of the first woman, Stacy Fey, 28, of Woodstock, Minn., who finished in 20 minutes, 7 seconds. The overall champion, Joseph Nielsen of Sioux Falls, posted a time of 17 minutes, 11 seconds.
Many runners, and walkers who took part in their 1.5-mile and 3-mile events, wore placards with the names of family members and friends afflicted by cancer in whose honor they were running. Also, a notable group of participants were cancer survivors. Stacey Peterson was among them. Her family has taken part in seven Avera races.
"It's how we celebrate Mother's Day," she said. Two-and-a-half years ago when she learned she had ovarian cancer, her sister and husband ran for her.
"This race means so much for all cancer survivors," Peterson said. "After becoming a survivor, the race means so much more to me."
Peterson used to run the 5K. This year she walked three miles. But she embodies what the race means for those who have dropped the hammer on cancer and outkicked it to the finish. It's about getting better, and the 5K once again beckons.
"Yes," she said. "At some point, it's a goal I have."