Firefighters complete 10k in gear

SLEEPY EYE – Two brothers wearing turnout gear and oxygen tanks were among 135 runners and walkers in the third annual Breaking the Ice 5k/10k Run/Walk With the Troops around Sleepy Eye Lake Saturday.

“You can to anything if you put your mind to it. This is about pushing yourself,” said Mark Lenning of Goldfield, Iowa (near Fort Dodge), after two laps around the lake on the paved (5k) trail.

Finishing ahead of his brother Matt of Lamberton, Mark Lenning said it felt pretty good to take off his jacket, helmet and oxygen tank before walking back on the trail to accompany his brother Matt over his final quarter mile or so of the run/walk.

Matt Lenning said he shed about 150 pounds by exercising daily over the past two years, cutting his weight to about 200 pounds. Mark said his exercising regimen includes lifting weights.

Last weekend, the brothers competed with 1,100 others in the American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb (aka “vertical road race”) in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, buildings with their turnout gear, tanks and a fire hose. The event in which participants climb 66 floors and 1,179 steps, raised $167,990.54 for the American Lung Association, which claims 90 cents of every dollar go to lung health education, research and advocacy.

The Des Moines climb included lung transplant survivors, lung cancer patients and others affected by lung disease. Competition included fire department, corporate, family and friends and gym and fitness challenges that could raise more than $240,000 when all proceeds come in.

On Saturday in Sleepy Eye, competitors included Minnesota National Guard members, military retirees, spouses, family and friends of military members.

Duane Oftedahl of New Ulm won the 10k race in 39:41. He was followed by Shane Rasset 42:24, Keith Olson 45:24, Matt Fischer 48:54, Vince Mueller 48:55, Alicia Netzke 49:00, Bruce Belseth 49:07, Jason Cotner 49:24.6, Stacy Tauer 49:24.8, Mark Goodall 49:29, Karla Bauer 49:33, Henry Bode 51:50, Michael Graves 55:27, Will Jakobitz 55:40, Nikki Besemer 57:22, Chad Hubly 57:55, Tammy Arnsdorf 59:51, Kyle Cumberland 1:00, Shawn Heider 1:01.08, and Heidi Bruns 1:01.15, among others.

Jordan Cholick won the 5k in 19:34. Following were Ryan Hoffmann 21:32, Nicholas Schultz, 21:55, Brice Andree 22:25, Zachery Long 22:30, Charles Galecki 23:02, Gwynne Gutzke 23:34, Fritz Busch 24:22, Samuel Bernau 24:36, Karri Olmanson 25:17, Aaron Hauser 25:28, Nicholas Jones 26:52, Jackie Bass 27:27, Tim Haag 27:29, Zack DeLong 28:12, Lexi Grathwohl 28:13, Noelle Olmanson 28:21, Beth Olmanson 28:22, Nick Burris 29:19, Nick Dewanz 29:33, among others.

For more results, visit

Proceeds supported the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program Brown County Chapter. For more information, visit

A 5k road race benefitting the Mankato West Senior Class trip begins at 9:05 a.m., Saturday, April 5, in Riverfront Park, Mankato.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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