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Rachel Miesbauer crosses the finish line to win the women’s portion of the Kids Kare 5K Saturday in Hibbing.

HIBBING — Rachel Miesbauer is no stranger to winning 5K races.

At the Red Ore Run, the former Hibbing Bluejacket won three of the seven events.

The race name and course may have changed, but that didn’t matter to Miesbauer who picked up her fourth victory in Hibbing by running a time of 19:57 at the Kids Kare 5K held Saturday.

Ironically, Miesbauer hadn’t been training for 5K races, but she has run quite a few marathons and half marathons the past couple of years.

“I haven’t raced a 5K in two years, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Miesbauer said. “I’ve been doing halves and fulls. I decided to jump in and see what happens. It’s a different course, so it was different.

“The course is so straight and the whole time I kept thinking, ‘When do we turn? When do we turn?’ You could see the whole straightaway. It was a great course. Nice and flat, so that was good.”

Not running 5K’s hasn’t affected Miesbauer because she already has a base number of miles in, which helps the cause.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Miesbauer said. “I haven’t tapped into that speed for quite some time. Having that base and that mileage is all aerobic activity, so that helps. If you can get that base, that’s one step closer to being in shape.”

Miesbauer didn’t have to compete against him, but she knew Geno Uhrbom was in the race.

She has a lot of respect for what Uhrbom has accomplished in his young running career.

“My thought when I saw Geno was, ‘I’ll see him at the start, then I won’t see him until the finish,’” Miesbauer said. “He’s a great, amazing runner. It’s awesome that he’s from this area.

“A lot of kids look up to him. It’s so awesome to have someone like that with such talent in the area.”

Like Uhrbom, Miesbauer wasn’t exactly being pushed in her race. She did have Hibbing Bluejacket runner Mattison Johnson by her side, but only for a short time.

“Matti was with me at the beginning, and I had coached her back in the day,” Miesbauer said. “I wanted her to hang on. She was there for about the first mile, so that was nice to have her with me.

“The rest of the time, I was looking at my watch trying to hold a pace. That’s what kept me in gear. That’s what I gauged myself by, that watch. I was giving it everything I had.”

Miesbauer wanted to run a pace of between 6:30 and 6:45 per mile.

“I was able to stay between 6:30 and 6:35, so I was happy with that,” she said. “When I saw that I could go that fast it gave me the confidence to say, ‘I can actually do it.’ I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s been two years.”

Johnson, who will be a senior on this year’s Bluejacket cross country team, tried to hold on as long as she could, but Miesbauer started pulling away. Her time was 21:56.

“We started together, but she has a little more base than me right now,” Johnson said. “She started to click. I tried sticking with her through the second mile, then I started to see that my summer training needs to be upped a little bit.”

Johnson liked the way Miesbauer pushed her.

“She definitely kept my head in the game during the race, but it started to get into my head a little bit thinking I couldn’t do it,” Johnson said. “I knew I could have, but she got ahead of me, and I couldn’t catch up.”

After Miesbauer took off, Johnson set her sights on someone else.

“My boys teammate, Owen Hendrickson, was in front of me, so I was closing the gap on him,” Johnson said. “He was a half of a block in front of me. I was trying to keep up with him.”

Johnson knows she has a lot more training to do before the cross country season starts, but she was happy with her performance during this race.

“I need to put a little more base and speed into my summer training with Serena Sullivan,” Johnson said.

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