Brad Peterson, the overall winner of the Scenic Byway Half Marathon last Saturday, Oct. 12,  said his win signified his effort to “walk the walk.”

A track and field coach and cross country coach for Belle Plaine High School, Pederson said his win may serve as a reminder for the athletes he mentors that they can push through difficult times during their races.

“All of our [Belle Plaine cross country] coaches are runners. What we’re telling them is stuff we’ve experienced,” Pederson said. “They know we’re not just out there running, saying ‘Go faster. Go faster.’ We know exactly where they’re at mentally and physically in those hard parts during their races, too.”

The cold did little to deter Pederson who regularly trains on the half-marathon route throughout the year.

Pederson made his ninth appearance at the race last Saturday and won it for his second time, the first being in 2016.

Averaging a 7:11 mile, Pederson finished the 13.1 mile race in 1:34:12.

Not far behind, in fourth place overall, was the women’s champion Tara Henke. Henke finished the race in 1:38:59, with a 7:33 per mile average.

Last Saturday was Henke’s third appearance and her second time taking home gold. She stated that last year’s almost 90-degree day was far worse to run, in comparison to Saturday’s icy weather that hovered in the 30s.

“I can deal with the cold. The wind is what’s tough,” Henke said, adding that the westbound stretch on Highway 6 in which there was a snow-infused headwind posed a unique challenge.

As if running a half-marathon wasn’t enough, Henke capped off her day by coaching a volleyball team at a tournament. Both Henke and Pederson hail from Belle Plaine.

In second overall and for the men’s division, Matt Anderson finished in 1:35:00. Michael Sullivan was third with a time of 1:38:01

Elizabeth Luzum was the second woman to finish the race and did so with a time of 1:39:31. Pam Walter wasn’t far behind with a time of 1:45:16.

In the 5K, 11-year-old Kelton Koepp, of Belle Plaine, took the top spot with a time of 22:14. Jonah Meyer, 20, of Belle Plaine, took second with a time of 22:53. Gerald Brekke, 35, also of Belle Plaine, took third with a time of 23:25.

More photos of the Scenic Byway races are on page 12.

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