Two hours, 15 minutes and 28 seconds later, 32-year-old John Schreier, wearing a lumberjack-esque singlet and faux cut-off jean shorts, stepped over the finish line in St. Joseph, Minnesota. He beat out 196 other finishers to win the 14th annual event and become the 2022 Road Runners Club of America state marathon champion.
The Minneapolis man was only the third winner from the big city to the south in the 14 years of the race.
Not long after, the women’s winner came through. Kristen Giombi, 36, a research economist with a PhD from Virginia Tech, broke the tape in 3:15:37 and earned the women’s RRCA state title. She traveled from Raleigh, North Carolina, to run in the Stearns County race. Leah Knowles, 24, of Shakopee finished second a minute and two seconds later.
The no-frills race did have bubbles at the finish line. And experienced pacers. And plenty of pumped-up supporters who doled out water and cheered along the sunny course.