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Kaitlin Goforth, Jesse Nitzschke win King Turkey Day 10K crowns

Former Worthington High School athlete Kaitlin (Gerber) Goforth and local school counselor Jesse Nitzschke repeated Saturday as KTD 10K race champions

A huge combined field of Worthington King Turkey Day 10K and 5K runners, plus the untimed family walk competitors, warm up Saturday morning before the start of the event.
A huge combined field of Worthington King Turkey Day 10K and 5K runners, plus the untimed family walk competitors, warm up Saturday morning before the start of the event.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- A year ago, Kaitlin Goforth was the first woman to cross the finish line at the King Turkey Day 10K. She’d given birth to her first child only two and a half months before.

Did you celebrate King Turkey Day this year?

One year later, Saturday morning, the 2010 Worthington High School graduate won the race again -- while four months pregnant with her second child.

091821 N DG 2021 King Turkey Day 5K  10K S2.jpg
Jesse Nitzschke, with two 5K runners and the King Turkey Day mascot trying to keep up behind him, is the first 10K runner to the finish line in the King Turkey Day running event Saturday morning in Worthington. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Running while pregnant is nothing new for Goforth, who competed in cross country for the Trojans as Kaitlin Gerber. Saturday’s 10K race went very well for her, she said.

“It was awesome. I felt great. I wasn’t actually sure how it would go because I’m four months pregnant. I ran my whole first pregnancy. I’m doing it for this one, too. Running is like therapy for me, so as long as I can do it, I will.”

Goforth, who is now living in Albert Lea, finished Saturday’s race in 42:26.35 and was third overall. Her time last year was 43:20.54.

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Kaitlin Goforth approaches the finish line to win in the women's category of the Annual Worthington Area YMCA 10K race Saturday morning held during King Turkey Day Celebration.
Kaitlin Goforth approaches the finish line to finish first in the women's category of the annual King Turkey Day 10K race Saturday in downtown Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

The 2022 men’s TDK 10K winner was Jesse Nitzschke, a counselor at Worthington High School who had no real competition Saturday morning under a cool sky, only a hint of breeze, and the sun hidden behind a thin cloud covering.

Nitzschke, too, is a repeat champion. Not surprisingly, he was pleased with his results. His time was 35.08.42. Last year he completed the course in 35:50.13.

“Everybody always wants to pace themselves, and I think I hit what I wanted,” he said afterward. “The first mile was fast. I thought I was at 5:40, but when I clicked my watch it was at 5:30. When I could have pushed myself a little more, I kind of relaxed, and then my second mile was about 5:30 or 5:31. …I was pretty smooth (the rest of the way). My goal this year was to have the last mile be my fastest mile. I think my last mile was just a little slower than the first mile. I think it was pretty close.”

Nitzschke, a 2014 LeMars, Iowa, high school graduate who also ran for Morningside University in Sioux City, Iowa, and later for the University of Minnesota Run Club, runs an average of about 60 miles a week to stay in competitive shape.

Runners in the 5K race jog by during the annual  Worthington Area YMCA 10K, 5K, and untimed family walk Saturday morning Worthington's King Turkey Day Celebration.
A few runner-walkers in the King Turkey Day running events Saturday morning made it a legitimate family time.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

In last year’s race, Nitzschke competed in a week where his glutes were giving him some problems. This year, he tweaked his knee in the days leading up to the big race, so he took a couple of days off from running. He was obviously ready on Saturday.

For Goforth, who also attended Morningside, running in the KTD 10K is a family event. Her husband, and one of her sisters, and her sister’s boyfriend also ran the race. There were several family members there at the finish line to provide encouragement and support.

“I started the race and I felt strong,” Goforth said. “I always start out steady and strong, and then around mile two I’ll judge how I’m feeling and adjust my pace. I was feeling pretty good, and so I picked it up a bit.

“This year’s been great. I actually had a personal record in a half-marathon in Nisswa (in April).”

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Nitzschke, who at last year’s 10K described himself as “the guy who likes to do crazy things,” said then that he’s more of an ultra-marathoner than road race runner. However, he is nevertheless unlike most people simply for the fact that he runs 60 miles a week.

His routine is for his own good, he explained on Saturday.

“Mental health. Mental health is so good for me. It gets me up in the morning … and I like to explore. I like to get out and explore things,” he said. “I love nature. Being out in it at all is really fun.”

Complete 10K results are online at www.kingturkeyday.org .

Related Topics: KING TURKEY DAY
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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