SARTELL — A cool and breezy May morning greeted competitors to the 40th Apple Duathlon on Saturday.
Standing near the transition area was Daryl Stevens, reflecting on the history of the race. Stevens co-founded the Apple Duathlon in 1983 with Rich Schwegel as a health promotion for St. Cloud Hospital.
"We wanted the race to be promoted as healthy, so we decided to add the word 'apple' to the beginning of the race," Stevens said. "It stuck after that."
After a few years, Stevens and his wife, Pam Stevens, became race directors of the Apple Duathlon.
The couple started the race as simply a running event. Then cycling became involved and the race became multisport.
They called the race a biathlon until the Olympics incorporated biathlon as a skiing and shooting event. Stevens decided to change the name of the race to duathlon.
"This duathlon is nice because it gets people out running and biking before the warm weather hits and triathlons begin," said current race co-director Heather Rothfork. "The Apple Duathlon is a great race to kick off the summer season and it's great to celebrate the 40th anniversary."
Stevens and his wife typically compete in the Apple Duathlon, but a recent surgery put him on the sidelines for this year's race. Pam competed and showed a strong time to kick off her 2022 season.
Over the last 40 years, the Stevenses have appreciated many moments throughout the race's history. One of the biggest highlights is seeing the participation of the Sartell community.
They've also enjoyed seeing the people who come from across the world to compete in the Apple Duathlon.
"We used to have athletes from Canada come down and compete," Daryl Stevens said. "So we would play Canada's national anthem and it was cool to have both national anthems before the race."
The Apple Duathlon was a World Duathlon Championship qualifying race in 2009 and 2013. In 2019 and 2020, the event was a USAT Regional Qualifier, bringing some elite athletes to the race.
Over the last 40 years, there continues to be a mixture of local athletes and elite athletes to make this event competitive and enjoyable for the participants and the fans.
Pam and Daryl Stevens were race directors for the Apple Duathlon for more than 20 years, but stepped down in 2008 to pass the responsibilities off to others. Daryl Stevens said there have been great race directors, volunteers and others that have helped carry on the traditions of the event for those 40 years.
Rothfork and Heather Corcoran are the current race co-directors and they're looking forward to continuing to build the event. The hope is to host this event for another 40 years and beyond with the same level of competition and love for the sport of running and cycling.
"It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of people to make this event happen," Daryl Stevens said. "But seeing this day happen and being able to experience all of these fun moments every year, makes that hard work worth it. I always look forward to the next Apple Duathlon."
Brian Mozey is the high school sports reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Reach him at 320-255-8772 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrianMozey.
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Apple Duathlon Results
Top five male finishers (Long Course)
1. Andrew Zabel, 1:26:29 (Sartell, Minnesota)
2. Brooks Grossinger, 1:27:37 (Mayer, Minnesota)
3. Stephen Eles, 1:30:26 (Boulder, Colorado)
4. Noah Billings, 1:32:03 (Rochester, Minnesota)
5. Tom Woods, 1:32:19 (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Top five female finishers (Long Course)
1. Andrea Myers, 1:50:52 (Medicine Lake, Minnesota)
2. Alyssa Knese, 1:55:03 (Sartell, Minnesota)
3. Amy Woolsey, 1:57:33 (Foley, Minnesota)
4. Cheri Bates, 1:59:35 (Rice, Minnesota)
5. Judy Januschka Murray, 2:03:31 (Sartell, Minnesota)
Top five male finishers (Short Course)
1. Nolan Snyder, 54:25 (Sartell, Minnesota)
2. Scott Eide, 55:32 (Avon, Minnesota)
3. Hudson Zabel, 57:30 (Sartell, Minnesota)
4. Adam Marthaler, 1:00:12 (Albany, Minnesota)
5. Mike Lawrence, 1:01:21 (Rice, Minnesota)
Top five female finishers (Short Course)
1. Anne Hoeschen, 1:02:11 (Freeport, Minnesota)
2. Reggie MacMaster, 1:03:33 (Fargo, North Dakota)
3. Ashley Patterson, 1:06:09 (St. Joesph, Minnesota)
4. Alison Manderscheid, 1:07:12 (Sartell, Minnesota)
5. Micale Gillson, 1:07:18 (St. Cloud, Minnesota)
This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Apple Duathlon celebrates 40th anniversary in Sartell