Print Flagstaff man wins second Mickelsen half-marathon
Written by Lu Stitt   
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 12:46
Nearly 350 people formed a bobbing throng at Riverfront Park in Cottonwood for the second annual Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run/Walk.

Most of the people stretching and jogging in place, warming up in the early morning chill came from Sedona and the Verde Valley, but some came from as far away as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Oregon, Washington, Tucson and Flagstaff. The race was divided into three events: a half-marathon, a 10K and a 2-mile fun run/walk.

“It’s so wonderful to see everyone here in Brian [Mickelsen]’s memory. He loved running the hills around here every day, so a race in his name is so appropriate,” Mickelsen’s wife, Lin, said as she warmed up to run the 10K race.

Mickelsen died unexpectedly Aug. 18, 2007, while out on his morning run. The longtime city manager for Cottonwood was 49 years old.

Mickelsen_RaceJason Wolfe, 33, won the half-marathon race in one hour, 12 minutes, 58 seconds, averaging about 5½ minutes a mile for the approximately 13-mile race.

“This is the first time I ran this race. It’s a great course,” Wolfe said. He also won the Sedona Marathon two months ago.

Wolfe just started running again two years ago after a seven-year hiatus from the sport. Wolfe started his running career when he was about 4 years old.

Mingus Union High School cross country team distance runner Juan Wells, 16, took the top honors in the 10K race. It was his second win in the Mickelsen memorial, having come in first last year as well.

“I’ve been three years on the track team. It’s interesting to run to become strong and build up stamina,” Wells said, who has his eye on the Olympics in the next few years.

Along with dozens of individuals who ran or walked the courses through the hills surrounding Cottonwood were groups who identified themselves with uniforms or T-shirts, including the Cottonwood SWAT team and the track team from Cottonwood Middle School. Seven children who are participants in the new Fit Kids program through Verde Valley Medical Center ran and walked the 2-mile race, wearing their Fit Kids red T-shirts.

Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens also completed the 2-mile event.

“I’m running for Brian [Mickelsen]. I miss him and see a lot of others here this morning do too. It’s great to see the community turn out in his memory,” Joens said as she joined the group ready to take off for the 2-mile race.

As each runner or walker reached the finish line, the crowd waiting applauded and yelled congratulations. Ky Mickelsen, Brian and Lin Mickelsen’s youngest son, received a huge round of applause as he came in fifth on the 10K race. The Mickelsens’ other son, Dane, could not run this year because he is serving in Iraq.

After he drank a large bottle of water, Ky Mickelsen went back out on the race route to find his mother and ran back in with her. As mother and son crossed the finish line, holding hands and their arms in the air, the crowd burst into loud applause and shouts of adulation.