Athletes from across the state came to Belle Plaine on Saturday, Oct. 10, to compete in the 10th Annual Scenic Byway River Run.

The half marathon was the biggest draw, with 101 runners competing in the race. Twelve runners raced in pairs in the half marathon relay, 59 people participated in the 5k Run/Walk, and eight bikers cycled on the 'Tour de Brew.'

Chaska resident Tristan Coughlin came in first place for the half marathon, with a time of one hour, 12 minutes, and 32 seconds. Coughlin was eight minutes ahead of the second place runner, even though he took a wrong turn and went off course for a mile.

Coughlin said he wasn’t thinking when he turned a different direction and stopped following the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible meant to guide the runners.

He was able to get back on track and maintain his 5:35 pace, thanks to the young men in the car looping around and helping him return to the course.

“Thank you to the people who set this up and especially the kids who came and saved me,” he said.

Coughlin’s favorite part of the race was the kindness from everyone involved, especially the volunteers.

“It’s fun because you run so much by yourself, so it’s great to have people cheer for you and you can pretend you’re in the Olympics,” he said.

Burnsville resident McKenzie Buck came in first place for women running the half marathon with a time just over one hour and 31 minutes. She was able to maintain a seven-minute pace throughout the 13 mile run.

Eight years ago, Buck ran this same race, earning her personal record. When she saw that the Scenic Byway River Run was still on and in person in 2020, she knew she was ready to try it again.

“It has been awhile since I’ve been able to run one, but I’m really happy with how I did,” she said.

Buck ran cross country at St. Cloud State, and since graduating in 2018, has been focusing on training for length instead of speed. Saturday’s run was the perfect chance to show off her hard work.

“They did a really good job making a beautiful and safe race and I was really glad to run it,” she said.

Belle Plaine High School’s Head Boys Track Coach Brad Pederson was honored Saturday for being the only person to run the half marathon every single year of the race’s existence.

“It is a big honor to be a guy who lives in town and the only one to run it,” he said. “It’s a good thing for the community that we have this here.”

Pederson came in sixth place this year, with a time of one hour, 27 minutes and 49 seconds.

He said he loves the course because it’s so close to home and  because of the beautiful yet challenging  terrain.

“Some people don’t like the rolling hills, but I think it adds something to it. I enjoy a little bit of the difficult courses, because easy courses are easy to hit your personal record on. If you hit your PR on a hard course, I think it means more,” he said.

In total, 180 people participated in the Scenic Byway River Run this year. That’s more than last year’s 176 participants, despite the many changes due to COVID-19. The Kids' Fun Run and the Harvest Festival Craft and Vendor Fair were both cancelled this year. However, the runners agreed they were just grateful to have an opportunity to compete live and in person.

2020 Scenic Byway River Run Results

Half Marathon

1.Tristan Coughlin - Chaska - 1:12:32

2. Brian Wells - Rochester - 1:20:23

3. Mohammed Murunga - New Brighton - 1:20:49

4. Collin Buck - Burnsville - 1:21:10

5. Jeff Schulz - Le Sueur - 1:22:51

Half Marathon Relay Race

1. Double Duty - St. Paul - 1:49:04

2. Team Kappel - St. Michael - 1:49:07

3. Zyia Addicts - Prior Lake - 1:57:49

4. Casey and Shannon - Henderson - 2:09:05

5. Crazy Cat Ladies - Woodbury - 2:12:42

5k Run/Walk

1. Derek Wachowiak - Plymouth - 18:08

2. Quinlan Andrews - River Falls - 18:12

3. Eric Ostermeier - Minneapolis - 19:35

4. Angelo Ricci - Minneapolis - 20:13

5. Kate Clarkin Tavakley - St. Paul - 21:18

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