Former Cedar Rapids Prairie, Iowa runner Matt Lorenz wins fifth 8K season
8K runners take off from the starting grid during the fifth season races on Monday, July 4, 2022, in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)
CEDAR RAPIDS — While it certainly wasn’t the prettiest of Monday mornings in downtown Cedar Rapids, runners who competed in the fifth season 8K and 5K were able to finish just before the rain and thunderstorms began around 8:45 a.m.
Unfortunately, the youth races, which would have started at 9:15 a.m., had to be cancelled, as well as the prize giving.
Nonetheless, the 37th Annual Fifth Season Races were still a success, with over 300 participants in each race and a large gathering of friends and family lining along 3rd Avenue, cheering on their loved ones as they crossed the finish line.
8K third-place finisher Hayden Kuhn (left) hits winner Matt Lorenz during the fifth season races Monday, July 4, 2022, in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)
The winner of the men’s 8K was Matt Lorenz, 23, a local runner who attended Cedar Rapids Prairie and graduated from the University of Iowa in 2020. With a rate per mile of just over 5 minutes , Lorenz finished with a time of 25:25.
It was Lorenz’s third time in the 8k race. He didn’t do as well as he had hoped the first two times, as he was still in school and busy with summer training to prepare for cross country in the fall. This year he was able to train on his own and he was able to prepare specifically for the 8 km race.
“I was still starting my summer training, so I could never really come out here in my best shape,” Lorenz said. “Now that I’m racing alone, I can train for stuff like that.”
Lorenz helps the track coach at Prairie and he believes running with the Hawks every day has also helped prepare him for a shorter distance race like the 8K.
“I like half marathons and marathons, so it’s really important for me to work on speed and sprints,” Lorenz said.
“Coaching takes up a lot of my time,” he says, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on other jobs and finding time for himself. During the school year, Lorenz works in Prairie as a paraeducator and also works at a shoe store. When he’s not running or working, he enjoys golfing as much as he can.
The top five in the 8K were completed by Ean Caskey of Lisbon (25:44), Hayden Kuhn of Marion (26:12), Eli Kaczinski of Abbeville, SC (26:13) and Shane Erb of Marion (26:29) .
On the women’s side, Elaina Biechler, 36, of Dubuque, was the best with a time of 29:55, just beating her personal goal of 30 minutes.
“My strategy was to run 6 minutes per mile for the first 3 miles and then pick it up from there,” Biechler said. “I fell a bit at miles 2 and 3, but was happy to come back stronger at miles 4 and 5.”
Women’s 8K Division winner Elaina Biechler of Dubuque crosses the finish line during the fifth season races Monday, July 4, 2022, in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Geoff Stellfox/The Gazette)
Biechler went to school and raced at Mount Pleasant and then Coe College. She coaches high school track and field in Western Dubuque and has three children under the age of 5, but still finds enough time and motivation to train and compete in triathlons.
Swisher’s Lourdes Mason (30:53) and Cedar Rapids’ Deanna Newhouse (31:00) were second and third, about a minute behind Biechler. Marion’s Emily Burmeister (32:10) and Cedar Rapids’ Jessie Clark (32:48) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Carlo Dannenfelser of Dubuque won the 5K in 15:55, a pace of 5:07 per mile. Cedar Rapids’ Andrew Bickford finished just nine seconds behind him at 16:04. Marion’s Maddie Block was the top female runner, with a time of 18 minutes.