Denfeld News

July 19, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Polson gets right to the Point
By Rick Weegman

A four-time Minnesota Runner of the Year, Jeremy Polson has his sights set on a fifth crown. And maybe a sixth and seventh, too.

“It’s kind of a Lance Armstrong thing,” Polson said of the seven-time Tour de France cycling champion. “Maybe I’ll go for seven of them, we’ll see.”

Polson has a good streak going in the Park Point 5-Miler as well. The 30-year-old social studies teacher at AlBrook High School in Saginaw made it 4-for-4 in northern Minnesota’s oldest road race by finishing first Friday in 25 minutes, 45 seconds.

Polson, who also won the race down Minnesota Avenue from 2003-05, broke away from former champion Greg Hexum by the first mile and cruised to a 29-second victory in the 37th edition of the race. Hexum finished second in 26:14.

“I was ready to go against whoever was here,” said Polson, who ran Grandma’s Marathon the previous two years and didn’t enter the Park Point race.

Polson’s time was well off the race record of 24:16 set by Steve Hoag in 1975 and behind his personal-best 24:28 in 2003. But he said he wasn’t attempting to challenge those marks on a warm night with little breeze. It didn’t help that the 1996 Duluth Denfeld graduate ran solo after the first mile.

“He’s in his prime and looking good,” said Hexum, 37, who won this race in 2006. “He put that time gap on me between a mile-and-a-half and three and that did me in. He looked very relaxed.”

Hexum, principal at Lincoln High School in Esko, said he suffered a leg cramp around the two-mile mark and was content to hold off Chisholm’s Michael Benchina for second.

For Polson, the race was part of a rigorous year of training. He said he has put in more than 3,000 miles since the beginning of the year and has taken only two days off from running in that span. Among his accomplishments has been a 14th-place finish in the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon in June and a first-place finish in the state championship 5K in St. Paul. He’s in strong contention for another Runner of the Year award, sponsored by the Minnesota Running Data Center.

“I love to hang around the roads of Minnesota,” he said.

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