The fourth annual Run to St. Lo Memorial 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk is in the books. Over 80 runners and walkers competed in the memorial race to remember the 52 Nebraska National Guard soldiers killed during the liberation of the French city in World War II.
The course was modified because of recent flooding in the fairgrounds area (race records this year will note that the course was not certified for the 5K/3.1 mile distance).
The race brought in over 80 volunteers to serve as sentinels, run the start/ finish line and provide logistics.
The top 10 runners (overall):
Trevor Acton – 14:53* (record for modified course); Ethan Ideus – 16:26; Justin Zoucha – 17:39; Jacob Jurchen – 19:10; Eric Acton – 19:12; Keegan Beisel – 19:22* (record for modified course); Eli Hiser – 19:59; John Berry, Jr. – 20:02; Morgan Bevan – 20:14; and Judd Allen – 20:46.
Overall winners were Trevor Acton for the men and Keegan Beisel for the women.
The race was hosted by the Seward Kiwanis Club, Seward July Fourth Committee (www.julyfourthseward.com), Nebraska National Guard and the Nebraska National Guard Museum Historical Society (www.nengm.org). Sponsors for the race included Berry Law Firm (www.jsberrylaw.com), Memorial Health Care Systems (www.mhcs.us) and Walmart. The race director was Kurt Holliday.
The Seward High track/ cross country runners supported the start/finish line. Black Squirrel Timing ran the chip timing for the event.
Along the route were 52 sentinels holding memorial signs to the fallen. Volunteers from Kiwanis and Rotary and citizens of Seward and the surrounding area stepped up to honor the fallen. One Gold Star family of Charles P. Stevens of Beatrice was in Seward to hold his memorial sign. UNO Intern Nick Tuma, who helps at the museum, was dressed in a World War II Army uniform. John Sronce sang the U.S. and French national anthems before the race.
Special guest for the race was Jeremy Rousset of Annecy, France, who served as the honorary starter. He also greeted runners at the end of the race to thank them for honoring the brave men who liberated his country. John Berry, Berry Law Firm, welcomed the runners to Seward and told them how much the firm supports events like this.
The weather in Seward and St. Lo, France, were very close at the start of the race. The race started and ended around 65 degrees (St. Lo was around 66). The race was modified because of the conditions in Centennial Park (Kiddie Korral) and along the west road out of the fairgrounds. The decision to modify the course was done a week out to move sentinel/memorials to the Ag Pavilion parking lot and onto the street along the dike near Hughes Brothers. The start/finish line at the museum was moved back 50 yards on each street.
The race committee wishes to thank the many volunteers who made the race such a success: all the sentinels who held signs, Mike and Barrett Nitz for picking up the race signs and cones, Meghan and Jacob Meyer for putting out the signs and cones and marking the course, Clark “Mr. Fourth of July” Kolterman for organizing, handing out and recovering sentinel signs, Mary and Meghan Meyer for handling the packet pick up (with Kolterman), Kelby Nitz and Brian Vanderslice (EMTs) for medical support, Nebraska Military Retiree Council for water/fruit, NENG Recruiting for logistical support, Bottle Rocket Brewing (Jason Berry) for the awesome finish line chute, and the Seward Rotary for stepping up to provide sentinels.
Members of the 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Regiment participated in a shadow run at the same time as Seward but out in Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. The commander is LTC David Smith and the CSM is Barry Read. They are in Guernsey for annual training. The motto of the unit is “One team above the best.”
The fifth annual Run to St. Lo Memorial 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 6, 2020 (76th anniversary of D-Day).