LAKE LINDEN - Once the goose was set loose, it was a mad dash to catch him at the Wild Goose Chase in Lake Linden Saturday.
Given a five-minute head start, Jim Vendlinski, dressed as a goose, took his place at the start line of the 10-kilometer run in the Lake Linden Recreational Area.
"It's not so bad," he said of his goose-feathered tutu.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Jim Vendlinski, dressed as a goose, takes off from the starting line at the Wild Goose Chase Saturday in Lake Linden. Vendlinski is given a five-minute head start in the 10- kilometer race and participants try to pass him.
This is the second year Jim has dressed the part for the Wild Goose Chase 5k walk/run and 10k run. Now in its fourth year, dozens of participants turned out for a chance to "catch the goose" and receive their participation fee back. This, however, means Jim needs to run fast.
"At times I am fast, at times I am not," he said. "I get a five-minute head start and that's what I'm counting on. I think I'll need it today by the looks of some of these people."
Jim's wife Andrea co-organizes the event with Jim's brother, Rick. The idea to incorporate Jim as the goose was created last year, when he was caught by one person.
"I was very nearly caught by the top female finisher, too," he said.
If participants pass Jim, they get the $15 registration back, but lose their amateur status, he said.
"And the weather is nice," he said. "Usually, we have good luck."
Andrea was also excited to see the turnout, and the rain hold off for the participants.
"It's probably the best weather we've had so far," she said.
Saturday, Andrea was helping tag people and fielding questions from participants. She said she was happy about the number of volunteers who came out to make sure the Wild Goose Chase went off without a hitch.
"They are mostly our friends and runners," she said.
Aspirus Keweenaw employees also volunteered to help, as the event was held in conjunction with an employees picnic gathering.
Starting the morning with the 5k walkers and participants in the "Stroller Derby." The group left on foot up the winding trail toward the rustic campsites and made their way back to the finish line, also taking them along a blocked off section of downtown. Jim was released next and the 10k runners took off after him. The 5k runners left the start line last, which included "Run as a Flock" groups of people tied together at the waist.
Andrea guessed either the 5k run or 10k run would be the most popular event of the day. Awards from Keweenaw Gem and Gift were given out after the races.
Lynette Potvin finished first in the 10k run among female participants with a total time of 49 minutes, 49.6 seconds. Titus Brown finished first among the male participants in the 10k run with a time of 38:35.3, nearly catching the goose. Jim Vendlinski came in with a time of 43:45.2 as the goose.
In the 5k run, Christina Mishica came in first place for the female division with a time of 19:37.1 and Chad Norman came in first place in the male division with an overall time of 17:48.2.
In the 5k walk, Gladys Dupuis came in first place with a total time of 35:38.0 and Chris Sochay came in first with a time of 37:37.4. Kristin Wanhala came in first in the stroller derby with a time of 42:44.4 in the female category and Chris Webster came in first place in the male category with a time of 37:03.4. In the "Run as a Flock" category, "Flocking Faster" came in first, finishing with a time of 24:18.0, just beating "Flocking Fast" which finished at 24:36.6.
The race is held to raise awareness for the Lake Linden Recreational Area.