Nearly 3,000 race at annual MickelsonTrail Marathon

2014-06-02T06:30:00Z 2014-06-08T21:37:10Z Nearly 3,000 race at annual MickelsonTrail MarathonJohn Lee McLaughlin Journal staff Rapid City Journal
June 02, 2014 6:30 am  • 

Justin Mehrer's knees were shaking, he could barely stand up, and all the 17-year-old wanted was some chocolate milk.

"It tastes good after a race," said Mehrer, who had just completed the 13.1-mile Mickelson Trail half-marathon in the Black Hills on Sunday. "My legs hurt."

He joined around 3,000 other participants in the 13th annual Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon and half-marathon, an event that is growing in popularity and on Sunday drew runners from 47 states as well as Canada, Germany and Sweden. 

About 2,250 runners took part in the half-marathon, with 450 attempting the 26.2-mile jaunt from Rochford to Deadwood in the full marathon and 250 signing up for the relay.

"I think that's the most we've had since I've been around," event announcer Marek Dubaj said. "It just continues to get bigger."

Rapid City's Shannon Bueker tied the women's half-marathon course record she set in 2013 at one hour, 20 minutes and 37 seconds. The previous record was one hour, 22 minutes and 18 seconds set by Becky Sondag of Casper, Wyo., in 2005.

Hunter Davila, 17, finished first in the men's section of the half-marathon with a time of one hour, 11 minutes and 33 seconds. Davila was about three minutes short of the 2007 record set by Brandon Moen of Pierre.

Davila's grandmother signed him up for the race. "It's actually my first half-marathon ever," said Davila, who came from Casper to run in the Black Hills. "Things just went my way. It's very beautiful."

Just behind him was 26-year-old Matt Heesch, a Rapid City native who is studying physiology in Omaha, Neb. The race Sunday was Heesch's first foray into running the Mickelson Trail half-marathon.

He and the others slogged through a soggy first leg of the race before Sunday morning's downpour lifted. But that didn't dampen his spirits.

"It was a fun course, downhill," Heesch said. "It was a little bit muddy but not bad, scenic."

With runners missing from only Louisiana, Mississippi and Delaware, Race director Emily Wheeler hopes that the word-of-mouth growth of the event will spark the attention of runners from all 50 states for the 2015 race.

"It just keeps growing every year," Wheeler said. "We've never had 50 states."

Contact John Lee McLaughlin at 394-8421 or

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