ST. PETER — The Thies brothers of Arlington said all the right things about brotherly love following the annual Freedom Fun Run on Thursday morning.
After running together ahead of the pack and finishing first and second, respectively, in the 8-kilometer (5-mile), Eric and Andrew shrugged off any kind of sibling rivalry.
“We’re both competitive, but we’re not like rivals,” Andrew said.
“As long as a Thies wins the race, it doesn’t matter,” Eric added.
Easy for him to say. The 24-year-old former University of Nebraska runner won with a time of 26 minutes, 57 seconds, besting his brother, a member of the South Dakota State University track and cross-country teams, by 5 seconds down the stretch on Fourth Street near Minnesota Square Park.
But the truth eventually came out. Eric didn’t want to lose to his little brother.
“I tried to run away from Andrew at about 3 ½ miles, but I didn’t get very far ahead of him,” said Eric, who also won the annual Fourth of July race in 2008 and 2009.
Andrew, 20, took second last year, while Eric finished fourth.
“(Eric’s) in really good shape," Andrew said this time. "At the finish, he had a little more than me.”
Jensen Orlow, 19, of Jordan, a college teammate of Andrew’s, took third place with a time of 28:31.
Continuing the SDSU theme, Jessica Eibs was the second woman to finish the 8K. The Jackrabbits’ sophomore-to-be was18th overall with a time of 33:46.
“We have a crew of people here,” said Eibs, 18, who also attended Sibley East High School with Andrew Thies.
Ericka Joecks, 26, of Waseca was the women’s winner. She finished in 33:09, which was also good enough for 15th place overall.
The third woman was Julia Orlow, 17, of Jordan with a time of 35:35.
In all, 187 runners finished the 8K. Another 118 people competed in the 5K.