Eighth grader finishes Fitger's 5K in good company

Racing down Superior Street Saturday morning, Isaac Boedigheimer had no clue he was ahead of Minnesota Duluth's eight-time NCAA Division II All-American, Morgan Place.

Isaac and Ruth Boedigheimer
Cloquet eighth-grader Isaac Boedigheimer (right) smiles with his mother, Ruth, following Saturday's 24th annual Fitger's 5K race in Duluth. Boedigheimer, 14, placed 10th overall in 17 minutes, 42 seconds, including ahead of Minnesota Duluth's eight-time NCAA Division II All-American and women's division winner, Morgan Place. (Submitted Photo)

Racing down Superior Street Saturday morning, Isaac Boedigheimer had no clue he was ahead of Minnesota Duluth's eight-time NCAA Division II All-American, Morgan Place.

Boedigheimer placed 10th at the 24th annual Fitger's 5K in Duluth. The Cloquet eighth-grader's time of 17 minutes, 42 seconds was 10 seconds ahead of his collegiate competitor.

"I didn't know how far she was behind me," said Boedigheimer of Place, who won the women's division. "I just remember the bystanders yelling 'Beat the kid, beat the kid.'"

Boedigheimer, a 14-year-old who runs both varsity cross country and track and field in Cloquet, was the youngest person to complete the 3.1-mile race in the men's division Top10. In fact, the average age of the nine finishers ahead of him was over 27.

"He's very passionate," said ninth-year Lumberjacks track and field Coach Tim Prosen, pointing out that Boedigheimer and his teammates ran several miles back and forth to Carlton Monday in heavy snow. "I've got some good runners, and he's right in the mix."


"We've had some pretty talented athletes here, but as far as middle school kids go, he's certainly in that top group," added 14th-year Cloquet cross country Coach Mike Bushey. "He really likes it -- but he's twice as good of a kid as he is a runner."

"Without running, I don't know what I would do, probably sit and eat chips," said Boedigheimer. "It's basically my life."

Like her son, Ruth Boedigheimer has also run for a good part of her life. Beginning the hobby when her late husband Mike Kortie passed away, Ruth said she started running in 1983 and has since finished eight Grandma's Half-Marathons, while also finding time to run along -- or behind -- her youngest child.

"I'll have to stay in shape if I want to keep up with him for the next four years," said Ruth, who finished at 28:05 on Saturday in the mother and son's second Fitger's race together. "It was just special to be a part of a race along with him."

With a race-time temperature hovering around 25 degrees, Boedigheimer said it took him a while to warm up. Still, his father, Kevin, was there cheering with his camera and cowbell.

Boedigheimer said race organizers held a moment of silence at the start line in honor of the bombings at the Boston Marathon last week. He said the tragic events were on his mind while running.

"Part of my running was in part of those who lost their lives and all who had to deal with such an emotional event that day," Boedigheimer said. "What happened in Boston startled me -- it was tragic -- but I'm just going to continue to run like I have."

Never worrying about who's behind him, or in what place.


"People all have their own thing they like to do -- mine is running," Boedigheimer said. "And now knowing what kind of runner [Place] is, it's cool to say I did something like that."

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