Area’s TCM runners included five Boston qualifiers

Elk River cross country coach Mike Niziolek and assistant Jill Varty were among the Boston qualifiers. Niziolek has done so many times. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Among  8,761 runners in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 7, were 71 from the Star News area, including five Boston qualifiers, led by Jill Varty and Stephen Johansson.

Varty, 50, of Elk River, placed 70th among 3,687 women, and fourth among 180 in her division, with a time of three hours, 13 minutes, 14 seconds.

Johansson, 24, of Elk River, placed 307th among 5,094 men, and 104th of 977 in his division, with 3:04:41. He was one of the runners captured in photos at the finish for the Star Tribune’s online coverage.

Both beat the Boston Marathon-qualifying standards (3:05 for Johannson’s division, 4:00 for Varty’s).

This was just the second marathon for Varty, a greenhouse owner, and volunteer assistant for the Elk River cross country team under Mike Niziolek, who has run dozens. On a chilly Sunday (in the 30s), her time was 40 seconds faster than last year’s.

“I was talked into it,” said Varty, who has run for fun and fitness all her life. “Mike kept planting the seed and I decided to finally try it.”

The 26.2 mile trek meanders from the Metrodome south and east around Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis, and then along the Mississippi, ending on Summit Avenue up to the Capitol in St. Paul. It’s billed as the “most scenic” of North American marathons.

“When you get done, you feel like you have really accomplished something,” Varty reflected. “You just get in a zone and you are actually having fun, with all the people cheering. The course is packed with spectators.”

Asked if she’ll go to Boson in April, she laughed, “No way. At the greenhouse, that’s when we make our money.”

Johansson entered with his father, the Rev. Paul Johansson, 59, of Central Lutheran.

“Stephen has done several (marathons) and we did this one together six years ago, but this time he really trained because he wanted to qualify for Boston,” said Rev. Johansson, who’s done six himself.

Stephen, a Bethel graduate, recently returned from India, where he spent a year with International Justice Mission, whose goal is freeing slaves, said Rev. Johansson.

The pastor added that about seven members of the congregation ran in the TCM.  That group included Rhoda Klotz, 46, who ran a Boston-qualifying time of 3:25:21 in her first-ever marathon.

“To run 3:25 and qualify for Boston in your first try is amazing,” said Richard Van Patten, another Central Lutheran marathoner who urged Klotz to give it a try.

Niziolek, 51, ran his 42nd marathon, this one with his brother, Dan, 50, of Minneapolis, who hadn’t run one in two decades. They strode together with Mike finishing in 3:32:10, a second ahead of Dan, both qualifying for Boston.

Also a Boston-qualifier was Jeff Rapacz, 41, of Osseo, in 3:06:53, placing 62nd of 803 in his division.

Area couples running TCM were Joshua and Amy Rogahn of Otsego, who ran together (a second apart) and Tia and James Chanthamontry of Elk River.

The TMC champions were Christopher Kipyego, 38 of Zacatecas, Mexico, in 2:14:53, and Jeannette Faber, 30, of Portland, Ore, in 2:32:37.

Area men in TCM

ELK RIVER — Stephen Johansson, 24, 3:04.41 … Denny Green, 37, 3:11:24 … Mike Niziolek, 51, 3:32:10 … Richard Van Patten, 52, 3:39:12 … Aaron Miller, 40,  3:44:23 … Pete Nelson, 54, 3:49:46 … Kevin Williams, 37, 4:16:27 … Patrick Fox, 52, 4:23:15 … Kent Graves, 43, 4:28:09 … Larry McNichols, 68, 4:33:09 … Paul Johansson, 59, 4:39:14 … Jared Larson, 24, 4:39:35 … Marc Skjervem, 34, 4:54:09 … Scott Downing, 44: 5:09:21 … Timothy Jeanetta, 46, 5:11:18 … Michael Brinza, 47, 5:24:57 … James Chanthamontry, 50, 5:26:04 … Chris Skubic, 30, 5:33:53 … David Roseland, 34, 5:42:06 … Nathan Wendland, 32, 5:46:51
ROGERS — Casey Schmidt, 43, 3:41:53 … Ted Sylvester, 43, 3:45:19 … Bill Zacher, 35, 3:45:37 … Joe Comstock, 39, 4:05:05 … Erik Miller, 34, 4:08:56 … Bill Bresin, 41, 4:10:50 … Steve Neubauer, 54, 4:25:42 …. Mike Konkle, 50, 4:29:11 … Joel Tjeerdsma, 44, 4:31:14 … Michael Haberman, 35, 4:41:34 … Wesley Gedatus, 26, 4:50:01 … Heath Zeug, 26, 5:16:11 … Richard Fadgen, 57, 5:19:03
ZIMMERMAN — Jacob Wernesbach, 23, 3:27:23 … Robert Tatro, 50, 4:19:50 … Gary Wernersbach, 54, 4:33:35
OTSEGO — Jeff Rapacz, 41, 3:06:53 … Josh Christian, 33, 3:55:49 … Sean Harris, 32, 4:00:31 … Christopher Bevers, 30, 4:27:07 … Sean Jayson, 43, 4:30:42 … Joshua Rogahn, 35, 4:59:28 … Jason Vanoverbeke, 32, 5:14:46

Area women in TCM
ELK RIVER — Jill Varty, 50, 3:13:14 … Rhoda Klotz, 46, 3:25:21 … Cassie Foster, 29, 3:55:06 … Lori Sydow, 39, 3:56:01 … Susan Lahr, 38, 4:03.52 … Betty Berning, 32, 4:13:40 … Donelle King, 38, 4:27:00 … Amy Rapp, 37, 4:30:35 … Laura Kauffman, 24, 4:35:09 … Tia Chanthamontry, 44, 5:06:06 … Nicole Rasmussen, 36, 5:06:11 … Deb Klatt, 40, 5:08:05 … Jeanna Christ, 39, 5:12:48 … Anna Benner, 26, 5:17:35
ROGERS — Joni Busch, 44, 3:43:16 … Lois O’Brien, 38, 3:44:41 … Marissa Evans, 25, 4:27:48
ZIMMERMAN — Bonnie Behl, 41, 4:27:35 … Jody Hamre, 53, 4:39:42 … Jean Bostrom, 59, 4:45:50 … Jen Johnson, 31, 5:42:13
OTSEGO — Heather Jayson, 42, 4:00:54 … Julie Larson, 38, 4:26:05 … Amy Rogahn, 34, 4:59:29 … Bridget Reilly, 28: 5:13:32 … Theresa Kornwolf, 40; 5:30:23 … Cindy Rahn, 39, 5:51:21 … Kristin Rose, 32, 5:56:43

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