Haven Lee Sanders finishes race in stroller again

Marty Wacker, left, leads the pack Saturday during the 30th annual Appleton Freezer 3.98-mile race in front of Appleton Elementary School. Wacker finished in 22.24 to win the race that had a diverse field, including one-year-old Haven Lee Sanders, in the stroller.



By the time she crossed the finish line, young Haven Lee Sanders was fast asleep.

The 13-month-old could have fallen asleep shortly after the start of the 30th annual Appleton Freezer 3.98-mile run Saturday for all her parents knew, but at least she wasn’t crying this time.

The baby, with a little help, finished 15th in 35 minutes, 51 seconds in the wet, overcast conditions with temperatures in the low 40s.

James and Laura Sanders of Palisade pushed their daughter in a stroller in the race last year when she was four weeks old. Haven Lee was born on Dec. 20, 2010.

“This was the first race Laura was ready to run after the pregnancy,” James, 33, said. “We entered Haven too so that someday she’ll be 16 with 17 Appleton Freezers. Everyone will be like, ‘How do you pull that off?’ That will be her young legacy.”

Like last year, overall winner Marty Wacker of Grand Junction went back to the corner of 23 and H Road and pushed Haven Lee across the finish line.

“She was screaming her head off last year because Marty brings her through at a fast pace,” James said.

“Did she cry at all this time?” Laura asked James.

“No, she was great,” James said. “I don’t know if she was sleeping. She may have been sleeping.”

Wacker won the Appleton Freezer for the third consecutive year. This time, the 40-year-old set a personal record with a time of 22 minutes, 24 seconds, beating his 2011 winning time by 18 seconds. The Appleton Freezer record is 20:09, set by Allen Russell of Grand Junction in 1987.

“I’m always training for something,” Wacker said. “I made a goal of a PR (personal record) every race distance this year. I thought that would be cool since I’m 40.”

He credited his training to a speed group that meets weekly.

“That’s really helped me to feel a lot more comfortable out there today,” Wacker said. “The conditions changing this morning were a big surprise. I usually run in shorts. I ran yesterday in 51 degrees. The conditions were a little bit of a challenge, but it was perfect for running, really.”

Wacker is training for the Leadville Trail 100 this year. He ran it in 2009 and 2010 and helped a couple of friends in the run in 2011.

“It’s intriguing because everyone thinks it’s impossible to run 100 miles on foot,” Wacker said. “It’s a monumental task. It expands our mind. I think we are a product of our thoughts.

“I ran without a watch today for a purpose. I wanted to listen to my body. Our minds limit us.”

Chuck Bisbee, 15, took second place, finishing in 23:19 in his first Appleton Freezer.

The Fruita Monument High School sophomore is coming off a personal record 1,500-meter run of 4:18.33 to take first place in his age division in the USA Track & Field All-Comers Indoor Invitational a week ago in Balk Fieldhouse at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“I haven’t done any speed (training) yet,” Bisbee said. “I was surprised I did that well. I was worried (about the weather) before the race, but as soon as you start running, your body warms up, the wind and rain stopped. It was really comfortable to run.”

Karah Levely-Rinaldi was the first woman to cross the finish line. She placed seventh overall in 28:42.

A total of 23 people, including Haven Lee, entered the race.


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