Race Previews

Late Registrants & Usual Suspects...


14th CHISAGO LAKES HALF IRON - Historically, late registrants have podiumed at this awesome event. In 2018, for instance, Aussie star MATT HUTCHINSON, a totally cool guy with a great accent, disrupted our predictions. We picked SEAN COOLEY, WADE CRUSER and JOE ADRIAENS to take the overall medals. But Matt popped in and took the gold, throwing down a sweet 4:06:45.

Thus Sean, Joe and Wade, respectively, grabbed the next three places.

In 2017, KORTNEY HAAG, who had won more halves than any other Minnesota woman, was our pick to up her total. Then, with race day near, Colorado's MOLLY SMITH, who had been tearing up the national long distance scene, enrolled. A great runner, she overtook Haag in the later stages of the final leg and pushed on to win in 4:35:40.

We could drop names of talented podium-worthy late sign-ups, like JON BALABUCK (Canada), TIM HOLA (Colorado), ERIC ENGEL (Wisconsin), pro THOMAS GERLACH (Wisconsin), JEN FOLEY (Iowa), JACKIE ARENDT (HERING), MARNIE WALTH (North Dakota) etc., and you'd understand our reluctance to predict a Top 3.

And we believe that in the absence of the "usual supects," i.e. SEAN COOLEY and JOE ADRIAENS, who are racing elsewhere this weekend, this year's men's Top 3 will include one or two guys that were not on the list we saw...


We will predict, however, that JOSH MORK will podium on Sunday. We also think that Iowan BEN LINDELL has a solid shot at a Top 3 finish.

The women's race will feature past winners KORTNEY HAAG, KELLY TROM and ERIN HYNDMAN-FARRENS.heinie1.png

Are they our podium picks? Not necessarily. There are a group of emerging ladies that would like to upset the status quo. Who? Thunder Bay's KAYLA KJELLMAN, Minneapolis' PAIGE SCHULZ (top photo) and CARYN HERRICK of St. Louis Park, to name a few. Shulz and Herrick are battling it out for 2019 Minnesota Rookie of the Year, and each one is capable of a sub-4:50.

We also expect Brainerd's SARA CARLSON, who placed 3rd here in 2016, to be in the mix at the front of the race.

And in the Sprint race, we believe that past champions will, once again, lead the way. KEVIN O'CONNOR, 48, won this race in 2018 in Masters Record time. He also won in 2011. According to our records, KO's won 19 multis since 2013. We predict that ANDY WIBERG and a few others will push Kevin to win #20 on Sunday.

Our clear favorite for the women is four-time Chisago Sprint winner NICOLE HEININGER (photo R). Her last racing effort--4th at Timberman--was not up to her usual lofty standards, thus she is hungry to compete.

Here are some of fast ladies who will fight over the the other two podium spots: CHERYL ZITUR, JENNIFER FITZHARRIS-FUNK, BETTINA KEPPERS, MACY IYER and JODY QUESNELL.

We can't wait to get to Paradise Park in Chisago City on Sunday and watch these exciting races unfold. 

Will you be among the 1000+ athletes who do this great event? We hope so. Yes, we think that a few spots are still available.  RACE WEBSITE


UPDATE:  The women's Sprint just got more competitive. DIANE HANKEE, two-time 2nd place finisher in this event, and former winner of the Chisago Half (2013), has just signed-up. Diane has one win this year, and hasn't missed the podium in four starts. The battle for 1st place will come down to Nicole Heininger's muscle memory versus Diane Hankee's fitness.

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