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Runners competing in the inaugural Sparta Marathon and 5k on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Contributed

Holmen’s Teri Serres Walensky took first place for women in the inaugural Sparta Half Marathon and 5k that was held Saturday, Oct. 14, as part of the Sparta Fall Fest.

Walensky finished with a time of 01:43:17, beating La Crosse’s Arrie Teale (01:43:22) to the top spot with Sparta’s Moriah Smith (01:49:11) in third place.

Among the men, Iowa City’s Mitchel Wantock (01:26:43) finished first, with Sparta’s Adan Rivas (01:32:44) and Billy Thomson (01:34:03) finishing in second and third place respectively.

The half marathon began and ended at the Sparta Chamber of Commerce and took runners on the Sparta-Elroy bike trail, out on John Street, Impala Avenue, Janus Avenue and then back onto the trail for the remaining 8 miles.

“The runners really liked the mix of both road running and trail running” said Race Director Andy Hutson.

Money raised through the event will go to the Sparta Area Cancer Society (SACS). There were 84 total half marathon finishers.

The 5k was not timed, but the plan is to add timing to that event and increase the participation, Hutson said. The second annual Sparta Half Marathon is already slated for Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.

“So far, we’ve gotten a lot of positive comments and are looking forward to putting on this event next year,” Hutson said.

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