GLADSTONE - Runners had a chance to try something a little different as area high school athletes set the pace Saturday in the first Chase the Pumpkin FitStyle five-kilometer event.
Escanaba junior Eric Cousineau led a field of 30 by covering the 3.1-mile obstacle course in 22 minutes, 53 seconds on this cloudy and windy evening on which temperatures hovered in the low 30s.
"It was fun," said Cousineau. "Although, it would be nice if it were a little warmer. Carrying the tires up the last hill was challenging. The beach was also a challenge with having to flip over the big (tractor) tires over five times. I don't think there were enough obstacles (five) to interrupt the run, though."
Erick Hansen of Gladstone was runner-up (23:37) with Adam Bruce, also of Gladstone, third (24:48).
Gladstone freshman Leigha Woelffer was crowned women's champion in 28:05.
"I thought it was a lot of fun," said Woelffer. "This is diffferent from cross country. This was a chance to get some running in. I needed some help flipping over the big tires, and it was hard to get going after completing each obstacle. It seemed like I ran fast between the obstacles, though. It was a lot like interval training."
Esky junior Aimee Giese took second (28:43), followed by Rebekka Bruce of Gladstone (33:03).
"The obstacles were fun," said Giese. "The big tires (during the first mile) were probably the most challenging part, but I was able to do it on my own. It's nice having something like this a week after the U.P. (cross country) Finals. This gave us a chance to run in a more relaxed atmopshere."
12 & under - Cole Alworden, Gladstone, 25:56; 13-19 - Eric Cousineau, Escanaba, 22:53; 30-39 - Erick Hansen, Gladstone, 23:37.
13-19 - Leigha Woelffer, Gladstone, 28:05; 20-29 - Rebekka Bruce, Gladstone, 33:30; 30-39 - Jessica Makosky, Escanaba, 34:18; 40-49 - Caitlin Capodilupo, Gladstone, 38:30.