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Barefoot runner wins Pepper Fest 10K

Jake Pittman won the Pepper Fest 10K race in his bare feet. His time was 41:52 seconds. Photo by Randy Hanson

Jake Pittman not only clocked the best time in 2009 Pepper Fest 10-kilometer foot race Saturday morning, he did it in his bare feet.

"This is cake," the free-spirited former Hudson High School runner quipped after completing the 6.2-mile course in 41 minutes, 52 seconds.

He's been running barefooted long enough to toughen his feet.

Pittman was a member of the Raider cross country and track teams in high school. He graduated from Hudson High in June and will enter the University of Minnesota in the fall.

He doesn't plan on running competitively for the Gophers.

Jessica Nederloe of Hudson ran the fastest 10K among the women in the field. Her time was 49:11.

Tommy Datwyler, another former Raider, won the Pepper Fest 5-kilometer race.

He was able to maintain his lead throughout the race despite taking a wrong turn that cost him some extra steps.

Last year, Datwyler won the Pepper Fest 10K.

A 2005 graduate of Hudson High, Datwyler now runs cross country for Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn., where he is entering his senior year.

Curt Weese of North Hudson placed second among the men in the 5K and Dr. Kirk Jacobson, father of Jake Pittman, was third.

Jacobson is the senior general surgeon at Hudson Hospital.

Katie Wetzstein, a Hudson High School sophomore, won the women's 5K competition. Her younger sister Erin, a Hudson Middle School eighth-grader, placed second.

Lisa Witt, another Pepper Fest race veteran, finished third.

The Wetzstein sisters are members of their schools' girls cross country teams.

A group of what appeared to be 75 to 100 runners participated in the laid-back Pepper Fest runs.

The humidity was high, and the temperature in the upper 60s, when the 5K and 10K races got under way shortly after 7:30 a.m.

A children's one-mile fun run preceded the main event.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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