It was just over two years that Amy Foell Harbaugh passed away from cancer but the Valley City native and alumni of both VCHS and Valley City State University, is still fresh in the minds of local runners.
Saturday morning, Amy Wieser Willson, a friend and classmate of Harbaugh’s, was among those at the Sheyenne Valley Shuffle sporting an “Amy’s Team” t-shirt and helping raise money for a scholarship fund in her memory.
The caused finished front and center and Wieser Willson crossed the finish line at Lokken Stadium, winning the womens championship in the 10K race.
“She carried me through this one,” Wieser Willson said.
The Sheyenne Valley Shuffle was run as a 10K this year, as opposed to a half marathon, with an accompanying 5K race following the 10K. Runners ran a course through the Valley City State University campus, that later went through city park and took a brief jaunt along Main St. and Central Ave. before finishing on the recently-repaired track surface at the stadium. 77 runners were involved in both races.
Willson said there were six people running as part of Amy’s team but in the past there had been as many as 70.
Carrington’s Greg Endres, who has run in previous years when the race was a half marathon, won the 10K. Though he always enjoyed the half marathon’s route from Lake Ashtabula into Valley City, he was pleased with the 10K.
“It was a nice route,” he said. “I was expecting a lot of hills and there was only one little one over by campus, so that was okay.”
It was his fifth time racing in the Shuffle, which he credited to both the proximity of the race to his home and how organized the race is.
The top finishers in the 5K were Fargo’s Aaron Danuser and Lisbon’s Jessica Dickinson.
Race organizer Mary Lee Nielson was pleased with how it turned out. This year was the first time that the event used a microchip timing system to clock finish times.
“We really liked that chip timing. It really made it a lot faster at the end to get everything,” she said. “As racers got done I wandered through the crowd and everyone seemed happy.”
The money raised by the race goes towards the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway. She said she considered the race to be a success.
“When we first started out, the entries came in slow, but by the end they came in faster,” she said. “We really appreciate everyone that came out to help us support the byway.”