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Runners undeterred by slush and snow

POLSON – Nearly 100 runners defied the elements left behind by a particularly crotchety Old Man Winter during the fifth annual “Sorry ‘Bout That” half marathon on Saturday afternoon.

The roughly 13-mile-long counter clockwise loop started at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center with runners trekking through the slippery streets of Polson and slushy county backroads still suffering from the effects of the recent snowstorm before crossing the finish line back at the aquatic center.

Slick, slushy mixes of water and ice did nothing to keep this year’s first-time race winner Michael LaForest of Missoula and former winner Trisha Drobeck of Missoula from getting off the course quickly.

LaForest finished first overall and won on the men’s side, finishing in 1:23:45, while Drobeck, who was the women’s top finisher back in 2014 and 2015, won the women’s side of the race with a 1:29:02 finish. 

“It was miserable,” LaForest said of the course after crossing the finish line, to which race organizer Lauren Arnold said, “Sorry ‘bout that.”

Austin Allen, who won last year’s race, Ryan Seguine and Max DeVries filled out the top half of the men’s results.

Shaunavee Dick, Jennifer Brown and Catherine Redfern filled out the top half of the women’s results.

Austin Allen of Moiese and Jennifer Brown of Polson were Mission Valley’s top finishers, second and eleventh overall, running 1:27:30 and 1:46:51. 

“I have done this race a couple of times before,” three-time winner Drobeck said. “The race management team here is really fun and they do a really unique winter race. It’s a nice way to get miles in and its always a good time.”

While motivations for running in this year’s race varied among entrants, Jenny Whitaker’s reason was to celebrate the completion of her final cancer treatment back in October.

“I am doing a half marathon every month of the year,” Whitaker said.

The Straub family, Jamie, Kevin, Madi and Kendall, all joined their longtime friend Whitaker in her celebration by being her very own cheering section along the race route. 

“We just wanted to come out and support her,” Kevin Straub said.

“It was sweet. I was totally surprised,” Whitaker said. “It was a great surprise. It was good to have my very own cheering section.”

For race results or more information on future events or volunteering, check out: www.polsonrunning.com.

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