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muenster runners

Don Nelson, left, and Ed Fagan are among those who mark down Muenster on their calendars almost every year. The 32nd edition of the race was Sunday, April 29, and Ed has missed only the first one.

This anomaly is a good one

Unlike the anomaly in the movie Armageddon, the Germanfest 15K and 5K in Muenster is not a disaster waiting to happen. Or is it? For some in the 15K on April 29, fighting the hills and the heat (mid 80s), it might have been.

Anyhow, anomaly is how women's 15K winner Frances McKissick of Irving describes this out-of-the-ordinary event in the small town west of Gainesville. It's a good description.

``It's different and I always like a different time start (the 15K and 5K start at noon). That's what I like about Boston,'' she said. ``It's a weird thing and your body has to adjust. And then just the atmosphere of the hills (on the 15K). No one in their right mind would want to do it anyway. That's why it's so funny. It's definitely a great race. It's like an purposely come out here to do that, a grueling race.''

Frances has been active (as always) the past two weeks. She won a women's title the day before she turned 45 on April 22, won again the next day on her birthday, and followed that with a victory the day before Muenster.

``I'm pleased. But these are smaller races so you have to take that into consideration,'' she said. Yet, she is competitive no matter the field as she has shown over the years. And her winning time of 1:02:42 was good for a sixth overall finish.

Ed Fagan of Grapevine has seen the course change several times during the 31 years he has participated at the Germanfest. He likes the current one that has a rural setting and features several hills. Ed said he comes back because of ``tradition'' and sometimes competes in the bike rally that's conducted on Saturdays.

``I like the small town atmosphere,'' Ed added. ``I love this town. It's a quaint town. The beer is pretty fun, though I miss the beer garden. There used to be a bunch of us come up as a group.''

Though Ed often runs the 15K, he opted for the 5K this year and finished fourth in the 55-59 age division with a 22:41.

Don, 51, placed second in the 5K masters division with an 18:08.

The Grapevine resident also likes the different atmosphere of the Germanfest. ``Everyone (who complains) says, `It's a noon start. It's hot!' Of course, some like running in the heat. And I used to love running in the heat.''

However, Don said the older he gets ``the less'' he likes running in the heat, yet that doesn't stop him from taking on the challenge. He also has opted to run the 5K after having run the 15K for several years. He said he was a challenger in those years with times in the 54-minute range. Don said he earned a second or third place one year when he was posting the speedy times.

The 5K course isn't as rural as the 15K and winds through some of the Muenster neighborhoods. ``I think it's a fast course, but it's usually windy. Today it wasn't, but it was hot,'' Don said.

He, too, misses the beer garden, an area that was roped off from the Germanfest fair grounds and was stocked with kegs. Usually, participants could soak as many suds as they wanted, which probably is the reason they now receive two drink coupons to be cashed in inside the Germanfest.

``In 1982, I knew one guy who came up (and entered) just for the beer garden. He didn't run,'' Don said.

That guy then missed out on the reason to participate at the Germanfest. He missed the whole experience...the anomaly.

Hot day, cold drinks
and great food at Muenster

See slideshow, Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Results

MUENSTER -- The temperature was in the mid-80s, which made for a hot day for the runners who took off at high noon from downtown Muenster to start either their 15K or 5K treks in the 32nd Germanfest on April 29. Participants had incentive, though, with two free drink coupons to cash in.

During the races, there were several residents spraying water over those runners who wanted to cool off, but that was only temporary relief. So, after all the running and sweating, most of the participants quickly headed over to the Germanfest grounds to cash in their drink coupons they received for entering the race. Drinking something cold definitely seemed the best solution for cooling off.

Besides the suds, there was plenty of German food supplied by the local restaurants. Also, there were games and rides for the children, and activities, exhibits and music entertainment for everyone.

Frances McKissick, who turned 45 on April 22, won the women's 15K, which she believes was her fourth title at Muenster, in 1:02:42. George Luthenhaus, 30, won the men's title in 59:44. In the 5K, Steven Curry, 16 was the first male in 16:29, and Sheila Natho, 40, was the first female in 19:46.