2013-08-08 / Sports

Inside information helps winner in Port Oneida 5K

By Mike Spencer Of The Enterprise staff


ASA KELLY, 34, of Beulah, from left, Brian Parker, Jeff Rothstein and Chris Hughes are off Saturday at the start of the Port Oneida Fair 5K run at the Charles Olsen farm. The 5K had a staggered start, every four seconds in waves of four. ASA KELLY, 34, of Beulah, from left, Brian Parker, Jeff Rothstein and Chris Hughes are off Saturday at the start of the Port Oneida Fair 5K run at the Charles Olsen farm. The 5K had a staggered start, every four seconds in waves of four. With the Port Oneida Fair 5K run in his neighborhood so to speak, 45-yearold Chris Hughes of East Lansing and Good Harbor thought he had a leg up on the competition Saturday.

Turns out his biggest competitor, first-time participant 34-year-old Asa Kelly of Beulah, had all the inside information.

Kelly, the cross country coach at Benzie Central, ran with former Benzie standout Will Huddleston earlier in the week. Huddleston was last year’s winner of the same Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore run sponsored by Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear.

“I heard a little bit about it from one of my kids that won it last year,” said Kelly, who continued the Benzie Central tradition of being first in 19 minutes, 19 seconds. “It was beautiful, but it was tough.


JORDAN STORER, 16, of Midland, tries to unwind after winning the women’s division of the Port Oneida Fair 5K. JORDAN STORER, 16, of Midland, tries to unwind after winning the women’s division of the Port Oneida Fair 5K. “There were some good hills up there — pretty narrow and twisty. But when you get up top and see the lake, it’s absolutely gorgeous.”

Hughes, who had won the Fishtown and Northport 5Ks last month, was hoping for a trifecta on the hilly course that started out flat.

Hughes figured if the frontrunners didn’t know the course, he had a good chance to win.

“This was like home court,” said Hughes, whose wife, Elizabeth also runs with him in Leelanau County. “I thought it would be a huge advantage ... maybe that was my problem.

“I went out very cautiously. I thought who ever didn’t know the course was gonna make a big mistake on that first big hill.”


RIDER MCCORMICK, 8, of Santa Cruz, Calif., and proud father, Jonathan, pose after the younger McCormick won the Port Oneida 1/4-mile schoolhouse dash. RIDER MCCORMICK, 8, of Santa Cruz, Calif., and proud father, Jonathan, pose after the younger McCormick won the Port Oneida 1/4-mile schoolhouse dash. Instead it was Hughes who was feeling the pain of the uphill climb.

“It was the death march,” Hughes said. “You turn right and your legs are just like dead.”

Kelly led the footrace wire-to-wire. Hughes finished second in 19:48.

“I went out a little slower knowing that the first hill was going to be there and it was a doozy. But once you get to the top there, it’s not so bad,” Kelly said. “The way I was warned, I thought there would be more hills than there were. The hills weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be.”

Despite being the frontrunner, Kelly said he looked back once in a while to see where his competition was.


PARTICIPANTS IN the Port Oneida Fair road races enjoy treats in front of the Charles Olsen barn, waiting for the results and awards. PARTICIPANTS IN the Port Oneida Fair road races enjoy treats in front of the Charles Olsen barn, waiting for the results and awards. “I cheated a few times here and there,” said Kelly, whose wife Tracy is from Suttons Bay. “I don’t know if I got lazy or what, but it was getting tough and I wanted to know where this guy was at.

“When I didn’t see anybody, I thought ‘OK, I can win this.’”

“What that guy did on this course is impressive,” Hughes admitted. “I kept waiting for that guy to die, but he was strong the whole way.

“I don’t know what happened other than he was just the better runner today.”

Other top finishers were: Ben Steffens, Park Ridge, Ill., third, 21:47.2; Erik Szwed, Beulah, fourth, 22:25; and Brian Parker, Morrison, Ill., fifth, 21:25.8.


KIDS EXPLODE off the starting line Saturday in the Port Oneida 1/4-mile schoolhouse dash. KIDS EXPLODE off the starting line Saturday in the Port Oneida 1/4-mile schoolhouse dash. Northport’s Ben Cook, who finished in 22:27.3, was ninth overall.

Hughes’ wife also had a disappointing finish after falling down in the first mile. She finished fifth in 24:44.7.

Jordan Storer, 16, of Midland, won the women’s race in 22:35. She was 11th overall among the 252 5K finishers.

“Jordan passed me a little bit before the first mile,” Elizabeth Hughes recalled. “I was going a little uphill and I fell back, right on my hands and knees.

“I got back up and said, ‘I have to keep going.’”

Storer, who will be a senior cross country runner at Midland Dow, was at a running camp nearby and decided to run the race.

“I love hills and I loved the course,” she said. “It was really nice.”


ROD MICHAELSON and his wife, Barbara, take a break after completing the 5K run. The Elmwood Township couple, both 65, have just started running for the health of it. ROD MICHAELSON and his wife, Barbara, take a break after completing the 5K run. The Elmwood Township couple, both 65, have just started running for the health of it. Storer was not in the lead group as the computerized chip race had a staggered start with four abreast.

“A couple of others went out in the first waves, so I just kind of stuck with them for a while,” she said. “There were a few hills, but the worst part for me is going down the hills because they turned and there were dips and stuff like that.”

Storer said she wasn’t counting on a good time.

“I’m happy with it,” she said. “But I wasn’t really running for a time.

“I hadn’t gotten out and run a 5K yet so I decided it was a good time to do that.”

Other top women were Julie Van Loo, Holland, 17th, 23:45.8; Christina Aragon, Denver, Colo., 18th, 24:21.2; and Anna Lafrey, East Grand Rapids, 19th, 24:18.6.


BETH MOROSS, of Florida, holds her 6-months-old daughter in a child carrier just before doing the 5K run/walk. BETH MOROSS, of Florida, holds her 6-months-old daughter in a child carrier just before doing the 5K run/walk. The 5K course, which meanders through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District, is promoted as having breathtaking views from the bluffs of Lake Michigan and a unique tour of 19th century farmsteads. There was no mention of hills.

Elmwood Township’s Rod and Barbara Michaelson, first-time participants, discovered the hills the hard way.

“I think we went up about 27 hills, or so, and we only went down two,” Rod Michaelson said with a smile.

Rod Michaelson, 65, finished 157th overall in 36:41.1. His wife, also 65, finished 160th in 38:14.8. She was outsprinted to the finish line by 10-yearold Calder McKillop of Bloomfield.

The Michaelsons, who used to live in Romeo, read about the race in the Enterprise.

“How can you not support something like this?” Barbara Michaelson said. “When I saw this race and that it was for historical things, it was like, ‘I’m signing us up.’ And then I sort of told him.”

The Michaelsons just started getting into recreational running.

“We’ve never been runners till retirement, then we started getting a little more concerned about physical well-being,” Michaelson said.

There was a record turnout — 324 registered — for the fourth annual Port Oneida run that included a kids schoolhouse 1/4 mile dash. Both events started and finished at the Charles Olsen Farm. The kids run had 35 participants.

“People are starting to hear about this race and how unique it is,” said Susan Pocklington, director of the nonprofit organization Preserve Sleeping Bear. “Natural surfaced trail runs like ours have such beautiful scenery, and there’s something about being directly on the landscape that is so special.”

Rider McCormick, 8, of Santa Cruz, Calif. won the kids race. Ian Narva, 11, of St. Clair Shores was second.

“Rider is the best of what we’re not,” said Jonathan McCormick, Rider’s father, who competed in the 5K event.

“I was in fourth place at the schoolhouse, but then I went to third, then second and then at the very end, I got first,” Rider McCormick said, sprinting past Narva in the final 20 yards. “I wasn’t sure I had enough left.”

All kids received cherry sour patches from Cherry Republic and a participant ribbon. Winners received prizes with a Sleeping Bear Dunes theme.

Ironically Huddleston did not return to defend his 5K title.

“He’s camping at DH Day,” Kelly said. “He said it was too hard and he wasn’t going to do it again.”

Huddleston, who runs collegiately, was limited by his coach to two road races this summer.

“He did his already,” Kelly said. “But I ran with him Thursday and he gave me some pointers on the course.

“I just kept hearing 'hills' and 'hard' a lot.”

But he never heard footsteps after the first mile.

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