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Thatcher Markham Run draws close to 140 runners

Zebede Swager and Kristen Monahan were the men’s and women’s top finishers at the Thatcher Markham Memorial Run on Friday in Houghton. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — By all accounts, it was another successful year for the Thatcher Markham Memorial Run on Friday. According to organizers, a little more than 200 people signed up for the 5K-run/walk while around 140 people young and old actually ran it. The run which starts near Gino’s Restaurant in Hancock and ends at the Houghton pier serves as the precursor to the annual Bridgefest parade.

The overall winner was Michigan Tech student athlete Zebede Swager. The sophomore finished the run with a time of 15:10. A little more than four minutes later, Kristen Monahan, of Houghton, was the first woman to cross the finish line at 19:15.

This was Swager’s first Thatcher Markham Run as he just completed his freshman year at Tech while running as a member of the Huskies’ track and field team.

“It went well,” he said. “I kind of stayed with the pack for the first mile or so and then broke away after we got across the bridge.”

On the women’s side, this was nothing new for Monahan. The assistant coach of Michigan Tech cross country and Nordic ski teams knew the route well.

Zebede Swager and Kristen Monahan were the men’s and women’s top finishers at the Thatcher Markham Memorial Run on Friday in Houghton. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

“I was hoping to beat 19 minutes,” she said. “But, I am happy with my results as I am not a road runner.”

With a grandma clanging a cowbell and holding a sign, the “Hanson Hustle” crew crossed the finish line at around the 25-minute mark. The “Hustle” are three cousins with the last name of Hanson.

Addison is from the Grand Rapids area and was the fastest female runner in the 12U division. She was joined by her cousins Matt and Anna from Hancock. Travis is their dad

“This was Addison’s second run ever,” said her grandma. “She did one in Grand rapids area and came up to visit us from downstate this summer. We said let’s sign up for this one.”

Addison did not hesitate, and when asked if she’d be back next year, she gave a resounding “yes”.

This annual run honors the memory of Thatcher Markham who was tragically killed in the Houghton County Father’s Day flood of 2018 at the age of 12. Proceeds from the run go to the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association and the Pigs N’ Heat fund which supports Copper Country police and fire relief.

“I did not know Thatcher, but I do know the family,” said runner Jenn Smith who teaches and coaches at Hancock High School. “It was such a terrible loss, but I am so glad we are able to keep his memory alive in this way. It is such a great way to start the summer.”

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