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RUNNING: Miller sets course record at Sour Grapes

Hundreds or runners took off from the starting line in the Sour Grapes Half & Ha1 / 3
Casey Miller of Baxter won the Sour Grapes half marathon Saturday at Northland A2 / 3
Sarah Woodland of Chaska came in first among female racers Saturday during the S3 / 3

Casey Miller, one of the Brainerd lakes area’s most accomplished distance runners, not only won the 10th Sour Grapes he set the course record.

Chaska’s Sarah Woodland, 19, led the women’s field in only her second half marathon Saturday at Northland Arboretum.

Miller finished the race with a time of 1:18:13, while Woodland recorded a time of 1:34:25. Miller, who also won the half marathon last year, topped Woodbury’s Matthew Cavanaugh’s 2008 record time of 1:19:41.

“Last year, I was kind of gunning for the course record and I fell a little short,” said Miller. “I think I could probably run this race a hundred times and not feel as good as I did today.”

Miller finished the race well ahead of second-place male finisher and Brainerd resident, Owen Baird, who finished in 1:26:32. Woodland finished less than a minute ahead of the second-place female, Baxter resident Becky George, whose final time was 1:35:02.

“I think I was pretty much ahead of all the ladies throughout the race,” said Woodland.

“I didn’t really have anyone to run with all day, but I am used to it, it’s how I train,” said Miller. “It’s interesting, in high school, when I would train with guys and race, it was nice to have people around me because I was used to it. Now that I train on my own, when I am surrounded by people I don’t feel comfortable, I almost feel pressed a bit, and it kind of takes me out of my rhythm.”

Woodland decided to run the Sour Grapes for the very reason the race was created. “I wanted to run the Garry Bjorkland half marathon,” said Woodland. “But, I didn’t get into it and Sour Grapes was near the same time.”

Both winners came into Saturday’s race with different perspectives of the unique and now almost infamous Sour Grapes course, which runs through, around and up and down the hills and trees of the Arb.

“I didn’t know about the course coming into the race,” said Woodland. “I haven’t run it before today.  It was definitely hilly and definitely more difficult than my first half marathon. It’s a good trail run and very pretty.”

Said Miller: “I actually ran on a trail before racing today. After I finished Fargo, I made sure I came in here a couple of times to get the feel for it.”

Sour Grapes had 442 registered participants in not only the half marathon, but also the half of a half marathon (10.55 kilometers), the half mile kids race and the a one-mile kids race.

Greg Hexum, of Esko, was the first to complete the half and half with a time of 36:47.

“Greg Hexum, its unfortunate he didn’t do the half, although I think he is a little out of my league, he is one of the better trail runners in the state,” said Miller. “He was way out in front.

Taking the first place honors on the female side of the half and half was Margaret Helm of Saginaw, doing so in 48:20.

Braeden Anderson of Brainerd, 8, won the boys portion of the kids one-mile race with a time of 6:36. Baxter resident Ava Figliuzzi, 11, ran the mile in 7:12 as the top finishing girl.

In the kids half-mile race Brainerd’s Cullen Davis won the event in 3:41. The top girl finisher was Alexis Swanson of Brainerd crossing the line in 3:44.

Men’s half marathon results

1-Casey Miller, Baxter, 1:18:13, 2-Owen Baird, Brainerd, 1:26:32, 3-Nick Pilney, Eagan, 1:30:06, 4-John Stover, Sauk Rapids, 1:32:41, 5-Jim Hirschey, St. Michael, 1:36:35

Women’s half marathon results

1-Sarah Woodland, Chaska, 1:34:25, 2-Becky George, Baxter, 1:35:02, 3-Anna VanWechel, Fergus Falls, 1:36:45, 4-Sarah Olson, Grand Rapids, 1:44:01, 5-Alissa Mattison, St. Joseph, 1:45:48.

Mens’s half & half results

1-Greg Hexum, Esko, 36:47, 2-Grant Steward, Ironton, 44:10, 3-Patrick Jacobson-Schulte, Sartell, 45:17, 4-Taylor Schloemer, Baxter, 47:15, 5-Shannon Finnegan, Baxter, 48:16

Women’s half & half results

1-Margaret Helm, Saginaw, 48:20, 2-Laurie Stanek, Prior Lake, 54:41, 3-Marah Jacobson-Schulte, Sartell, 54:45, 4-Kimberely Anderson, Brainerd, 54:54, 5-Mary Ahrens, Sauk Rapids, 55:00

Boy’s one-mile results

1-Braeden Anderson, Brainerd, 6:36, 2-Isaac Hoverson, Baxter, 6:39, 3-Cormac Shanoff, Brainerd, 7:04, 4-Johah Davis, Brainerd, 7:09, 5-Hunter Turcotte, Baxter 7:25

Girl’s one-mile results

1-Ava Figliuzzi, Baxter, 7:12, 2-Kelsey Stroot, Brainerd, 7:48, 3-Olivia Sedlachek, Brainerd, 7:52, 4-Madelyn Sedlachek, Brainerd, 7:54, 5-Kailey Springer, 7:57

Boy’s half-mile results

1-Cullen Davis, Brainerd, 3:41, 2-Bejamin Stadum, Brainerd, 4:18, 3-Gage McKnight, East Gull Lake, 4:25, 4-Linkin McKnight, East Gull Lake, 4:32, 5-Lance Anderson, Brainerd, 4:34

Girl’s half-mile results

1-Alexis Swanson, Brainerd, 3:44, 2-Megan Praught, Brainerd 3:54, 3-Amber Boulton, Watkins 3:57, 4-Gabby Rosecrans, Crosby, 4:03, 5-Zoe Adams, Pequot Lakes 4:04