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October 23, 2010

Sorenson, Blue win inaugural Mankato Marathon

MANKATO — No one can say Minnesota State women’s track and cross-country coach Jen Blue doesn’t practice what she preaches.

Feeling ill at around the 24-mile mark of the Mankato Marathon, Blue wasn’t about to let herself or her team down by quitting on account of a queasy stomach.

Blue kept on running and fought off her ails just long enough to cross the finish line as the women’s winner of the inaugural race Saturday. Blue didn’t merely survive the 26.2-mile race, she thrived. Her 3 hour, 3-minute, 6-second time was a personal best.

“The last two miles I really felt like I was going to throw up,” said Blue, who finished 21st overall. “I didn’t feel good at all. (I) just got through it with grit and determination.”

When told that members of her team were waiting for their beloved coach at the finish line, Blue said, “I told my girls that they can’t ever stop, so I had to follow my own advice.”

Minnesota State track and field sprinter Brittany Henderson leaned on a rail by the finish line on Hickory Street, and said she was awed by her coach’s achievement.

“I’m not surprised at all that she won,” Henderson said. “She’s a beast. She wants us to be better runners, but she has high expectations for herself, too. She’s so inspiring.”

Henderson’s teammate, Lauren Stelten, said that hearing her coach battled through an upset stomach to finish — and win — the race was hardly out of character for Blue.

“She works so hard,” Stelten said. “She’s always telling us to push through, and she showed she does the same.”

Blue, who trained for about 12 weeks but is also a year-round runner, was a member of the marathon’s planning committee and helped design the running course.

“It’s a really nice course,” she said while recouping after the race. “I was glad the sun didn’t come out until (after her finish), and to set my PR (personal record) here is pretty awesome.”

Kim Scheel of Mankato finished second with a time of 3:08:05, followed by Walnut Grove’s Monica Dorn (3:17:09), Mankato’s Cindra Kamphoff (3:17:18) and St. Cloud’s Molly Borski (3:19:38).

“I really enjoyed the race,” Scheel said. “It was a great event. The weather really came through. I hope to be back next year.”

Other area finishers in the top 20 included: Clarice Esslinger (10th, 3:25:31), North Mankato’s Becky Brudwick (12th, 3:29:05), Mankato’s Jill Kroc (16th, 3:31:28) and St. Peter’s Emily Thompson (20th,, 3:38:01).

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