116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — While it certainly wasn’t the most beautiful of mornings Monday in downtown Cedar Rapids, the 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, had to be canceled, along with the awards ceremony.
Nonetheless, the 37th annual Fifth Season Races were still a success, with more than 300 participants in each race and a great gathering of friends and family lined up along 3rd Avenue, cheering on their loved ones as they crossed the finish line.
The men’s 8K winner was 23-year old Matt Lorenz, 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.
This was Lorenz’s third time competing 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 could train on his own and he was able to prepare specifically for the 8K run.
“I was always just getting going with my summer training so I could never really come out here in my best shape,” Lorenz said. “Now that I’m running on my own, I can train for stuff like this.”
Lorenz is helping coach track and field at Prairie and he believes running with the Hawks every day has also helped him prepare for a shorter distance race like the 8K.
“I like the 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 said, but that doesn’t stop him from working other jobs and finding time for himself. During the school year, Lorenz works at Prairie as a paraeducator and also works at a shoe store. When he’s not running or working, he loves to golf as much as he can.
Rounding out the top five in the 8K were Ean Caskey of Lisbon (25:44), Hayden Kuhn of Marion (26:12), Eli Kaczinski from Abbeville, S.C. (26:13) and Shane Erb of Marion (26:29).
On the women’s side, 36-year-old Elaina Biechler of Dubuque was the top finisher 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 off a little on miles 2 and 3, but was happy to come back stronger in miles 4 and 5.”
Biechler went to school and ran at Mount Pleasant and then Coe College. She coaches high school track at Western Dubuque and has three kids under the age of 5, but still finds enough time and motivation to train for and compete in triathlons.
Lourdes Mason of Swisher (30:53) and Deanna Newhouse of Cedar Rapids (31:00) placed second and third, just about a minute behind Biechler. Emily Burmeister of Marion (32:10) and Jessie Clark of Cedar Rapids (32:48) were 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 women’s runner, with a time of 18 minutes.