EKUP fun run a local tradition for 30 years

There were 30 participants in the annual EKUP race, including 25 students and five Manistee coaches. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

There were 30 participants in the annual EKUP race, including 25 students and five Manistee coaches. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — The cold and rainy skies did not dampen the spirits of the runners who participated in the 30th annual EKUP race.

The fun run — which celebrates the end of the season for Manistee cross country teams — is three times the distance of a standard varsity race and spans 15-kilometers (9.3 miles). The name of the race derives from the word spelled backwards.

Manistee coach Eric Thuemmel said the tradition began in 1989 with head coach Jerry Brown.

Students and coaches alike braved the cold weather for the 9.3 mile race, which has been a local tradition for 30 years. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

Students and coaches alike braved the cold weather for the 9.3 mile race, which has been a local tradition for 30 years. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

“His kids were all bugging him to see how far they could run, and he kept pushing it off because he didn’t want them doing anything too long during the season,” he said. “When the season finished he had them run from the school all the way around Manistee Lake and back to the school again. Then the courses evolved over the years.”

The course this year went through town and out to Hill Road, and runners returned to the school down Cedar Street.

“It’s a nasty course, there are a lot of hills and it was pretty slippery out there with the leaves,” he said. “In the end it’s fun, and they all wear their shirts together at school the next day and there’s sort of a comradery and a sense of pride.”

Thuemmel said there were around 30 participants in the race this year, including 25 students and five coaches, including himself.

“The past few years we’ve had quite a few middle schoolers join in, and we have members of the swim team and a few football players as well,” he said.

Caiden Cudney and Declan McCann tied for first place, with a time of 1:04:21.

“I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time and I decided to run this year because I’ve never done it before and it seemed like fun,” said Cudney.

He said the weather made the course even more challenging.

“There were times where I stepped in puddles and my shoes got heavier after that, other times I needed to slow down and sort of catch my breath,” said Cudney.

Others who finished in the race included:
• Jack O’Donnell, 1:10:05

• Andy Anderson, 1:12:51

• Eric Thuemmel, 1:13:32

• Hilary Edmondson, 1:16:39

“I like to see traditions continued, and for 30 years, one way or another, we’ve done something to commemorate it,” said Thuemmel. “It’s a fun community, I love to see all the kids from different sports running together. They have quite a bit of bragging rights, they can say they survived EKUP.”

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