Event promotes active lifestyles
By John Faucher
Two-hundred-eighty-nine runners paralleled the rolling Wolf River for the annual ThedaCare Foundation Sturgeon Shuffle held in New London on Saturday, April 22.
This year’s run came at the tail end of an ancient fish spawning ritual along the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail, located 1.3 miles west of New London.
Spawning activity of the Lake Sturgeon reached its peak in New London just days earlier.
On race day, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Senior Fisheries Biologist Ryan Koenings reported that spawning activity at lower sites like New London was “pretty well done,” although there were still some fish hanging around yet for spectators to see.
Heather Stern, executive director of ThedaCare Foundation, said the event drew 315 participants overall, including walkers. “Some of the runners came back and reported seeing fish,” said Stern.
Two-hundred-fifty-five runners participated in the 5K run and 30 participated in the 10K.
The Sturgeon Shuffle is a competitive run/walk geared for all athletes, whether they are a serious competitor or just want to “go the distance.”
Stern said one of the biggest goals of the event is to promote an active lifestyle and a healthier community. Proceeds from the run are returned to the community through programs that improve health and well-being.
This year was the seventh anniversary of the Sturgeon Shuffle.
Sara Sommer traveled from Wausau to compete in the event. It was her first year running the race and her first ever 10K race.
“The Sturgeon Shuffle course was great,” said Sommer. “It was nice and flat, with a nice view of the river. The event was organized, the trails were clearly marked and results were posted fast.”
Sommer said she heard about the race from her mother, who works for ThedaCare in New London.
Sommer began running in 2011 after making a New Year’s resolution to exercise more.
That year she ran a 5K and an 8K race, and trained for a half marathon. The Sturgeon Shuffle was her fifth race this season.
“Right now I’m trying to see how many weekends in a row I can do a race,” said Sommer.
Next weekend she will be competing in the Crazylegs 8K in Madison.
“I’m a UW-Madison graduate and it is always fun to end the race running into Camp Randall,” said Sommer.
She said she never participated in high school or college sports.
“I’m in no way athletic or coordinated to do group sports,” said Sommer.
She does not consider herself a runner.
“I’m not running every day or even every week. It does not come natural for me and it is not easy for me. My face gets bright red every race. I’m breathing hard the whole time and I’m usually a little sore afterwards, but I feel a little sense of accomplishment each time,” said Sommer.
“It just feels good to be outside, breathe some fresh air and help out a good cause.”
She said most of the races she enters involve some sort of charitable cause, and it is a good way to force her to exercise.
“It’s much harder for me to back out of a race I have signed up for versus backing out of getting on the treadmill at home,” she said. “Hopefully I can keep going all through summer.”
Sommer said she usually finishes most races somewhere around the middle of the pack. On Saturday, she crossed the 10K in third place in the Women’s 40-49 division with a time of 56:46.
Shaunna Ferge finished the women’s 10K race in first place with a time of 46:28.
Jared Loughrin finished the men’s division 10K race in first place with a time of 37:10.
Keagan Reybrock finished the 5K race with a first place time of 19:13.
Macy Reybrock led the 5K female division with a time of 23:38.