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Young runners lead the pack at Sawdust

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Nineteen-year old Jackson Lindquist of Carlton set a course record in the third annual running of the Sawdust 5K race on July 4.

Lindquist, who runs track and cross country at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, ran the 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 20 seconds.

"I really didn't know what to expect," said Lindquist, who ran the race for the first time, "but I had a great time."

"That's a fabulous time on a flat course," event organizer Jeff Leno said. "I've been around running for a long time and to be able to run that time on a hilly course is incredible."

A total of 381 runners, an increase of about 30 percent from a year ago, took part in the event, including about 90 people who signed up on the day of the race.

One of the late entries was Lindquist himself, who ran the race at the urging of friends.

"One of my friends was running and asked me if I wanted to," Lindquist said. "I said I might as well."

That turned out to be a good decision.

Leno said Lindquist impressed him, as well as onlookers, with a charge up Arch Street's hill right at the finish of the race.

"Our pace bikers charged up the hill and Jackson passed one of them and almost caught the other," Leno said. "The bikers said the hill didn't faze him a bit."

"I was tired, so when I went to that corner I saw the big hill and said 'Oh, boy,'" Lindquist said. "I wanted to push it because I knew it was at the end, so I pushed it up (the hill) and I was in good enough shape when I got to the top I could cruise down. I'm not in the best hill shape right now but the biker told me after the race it was the first time he had been caught there."

Fourteen-year old Erika Fox of Carlton was the women's winner in 20:42, finishing in 20th place overall.

"We had heard about Erika running at Carlton," Leno said. "She's a fantastic runner and Jackson also has a great future if he decides to keep running."

Eric Cyr, 23, of Duluth, finished second overall, 36 seconds behind Lindquist. Adam Doe of Fridley, Minn., was third and 2011 champion Sean Gaskell of Esko was fourth.

"It was a great day," Leno said. "We ran out of shirts and we know we're going to have parking issues next year, but those are good problems to have."

The race will raise an estimated $6,000, the majority of which will go to a special account to help fund Cloquet High School activities.