Dunfee Flies Through the MN Half

Bookmark and Share

Dunfee Smokes It

In thirty-two minutes, just about the time it takes most of us to watch a sitcom and make it to the fridge, Kelin Dunfee skated the Minnesota Half Inline Marathon and did most of it on his own (with his trademark Colgate smile).  Skaters were met with mild and sunny conditions on the morning of August 5th, 2017 in St. Paul along the banks of the Mississippi River.  The usual packs of elite skaters took off just after 7 AM and were followed by hoards of recreational skaters.  There were over 305 inline finishers.  Close to 1500 competed in the various running events. Click here for the photo gallery.

Dunfee skated away on the hilly course and was chased by a pack of Steve Meisinger, Rob Bell and Steffen Howard, behind them was a pack of Fedak, Steven Hartman (showing substantial improvement from previous seasons), and Jeff Terwilliger. After that came the big pack with Ovid Westin having a strong kick.

Two weeks ago in Chicago the combination of Justin Stelly, Bell, and Howard dropped Dunfee with a couple of laps to go. Dunfee would have none of that on Saturday as he beat Bell and Howard by over a minute.

The finishing order displayed below is based on the Overall finishing time, and not the finish within a specific class. For example, Molly Sievert had the third fastest female time overall, but did not skate with the female elites and had the benefit of a male draft – time to turn pro Molly – you are that good.  A couple of oddities in the results: two guys named Mark McDonald completed the event, one of them is 55 and the other is 59, the older Mark was faster.  It appears Ryan Suter of the Wild completed the event and had bib #1. It took Suter 1:22 to finish, rumor has it he was looking for the net.

Skaters had a heavy heart Saturday as Sarah Gutknecht was not able to be in attendance as she battles stage four pancreatic cancer. See below for more about Sarah and photos from her past events.

Click here for the photo gallery.

Overall Order:

1. Kelin Dunfee 32.41

2. Steve Meisinger 33.50

3. Rob Bell 33.51

4. Steffen Howard 33.52

5. Alex Fedak 36.34

6. Steven Hartman

7. Jeff Terwilliger

8. Matthew Kitzis

9. Elias Hendrickson

10. Ovid Westin

11. Conrade Thomas

12. Gary Johnson

13. Matt Robinson

14. Michael Mullery

15. Jason Mann

16. Brian Geisel

17. Ben Hall

18. John “can’t spare a square” Schulte

19. Josiah Hendrickson

20. Noel Creager

21. Dan Collins

Click here for the photo gallery.

Click here for full results.


The female event featured four fairly evenly matched skaters that held together as a paceline until the turnaround on the East end.  Skaters pass under a bridge and through some sandy broken pavement.  Hannah and Halsey went down, but both were able to complete the event.  Hannah had bloodied elbows, and Halsey was holding her hand/wrist when she crossed the finish line and reportedly lost a finger nail (yup, she broke a nail).   Thankfully the injuries were not more serious.  Sara Rehklau was 8 seconds back of Kara Parker.

1. Kara Parker 41.10

2. Sara Rehklau

3. Molly Sievert

4. Hannah Vanasse

5. April Kabes

6. Miranda Halsey

7. Tammy Davis

8. Leah Vehrenkamp

9. Allison Talley

10. Julia Rudnicki

Click here for the photo gallery.

Age Groups:


Under 19:

1. Jesse Peterson

2. Nick Kerbeshian

3. Blaine Andringa


1. Steven Hartman

2. Elias Hendrickson

3. Ryan Mullery


1. Kelin Dunfee

2. Matthew Kitzis

3. Josiah Hendrickson


1. Steve Meisinger

2. Rob Bell

3. Steffen Howard


1. Ben Price

2. Tavis Trosen

3. Eric Smyth


1. Ben Hall

2. Tracy White

3. Peter Davis


1. Noel Creager

2. Aaron Anderson

3. Jamie Roed


1. Alex Fedak

2. Conrade Thomas

3. Matt Robinson


1. Jeff Terwilliger

2. Ovid Westin

3. Gary Johnson


1. Gary Yanagita

2. Duane Wagner

3. Howard Anderson


1. Ken Huss

2. Paule Holte

3. Curtis Hendrickson


1. Terry Holm

2. James Bell

3. Paul Sargenti


1. Roger Olson

2. Mike Miller

3. Mark Carrico

80 and up

1. Al Koniar 1:04

This guys skates this race every year.  In past years a couple of us sat and talked with him and looked at the homemade device he uses to be among the skating.  The guy with one leg is out there skating, what the heck is your excuse?  Look at all the people he is beating.

Click here for the photo gallery.


Here is Halsey finishing while clutching her wrist/hand.  Thankfully the injury was not more serious and great job getting up and powering through the fall.  It is never easy to be going along on a good skate and come to a complete stop in a heap on the ground and have to find the strength and will to get up and finish.

Under 19

1. Miranda Halsey

2. Ilsa Shobe

3. Brianna Lupo


1. Sara Rehklau

2. Leah Severseike

3. Janelle McDonald


1. Hannah Vanasse

2. Leah Vehrenkamp

3. Erin Stenseth


1. Molly Sievert

2. April Kabes

3. Julia Rudnicki


1. Tammy Davis

2. Alison Talley

3. Jessica Larson


1. Stacia Marsolek

2. Tracie Linden

3. Sharon Seifert


1. Kara Parker

2. Megan Anderson

3. Jenny Floria


1. Annie Hendrickson

2. Jana Davis

3. Mary Crookston


1. Darcy Futrell

2. Cindy Walters

3. Theresa Moore


1. Kathy Wagle

2. Katie Felicelli

3. Nadine Dahms

Click here for the photo gallery.


Sarah Gutknecht

Sarah is a longtime inline skater and has been a member of the Midwest Skate Club, Media Machine, and Max Muscle.   She is a dominant age group skater that has frequently been found on podiums with a large smile, including just a couple of seasons ago at the Minnesota Half (photo below).  She established a reputation as a friendly, outgoing, and approachable skater.  For over a decade she has been a pediatric nurse at Gillette Children’s Hospital working with children afflicted with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, juvenile arthritis, and many other conditions I could neither pronounce nor spell.  Sarah was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer more than a year ago, and the severity of the prognosis was made clear by Noelle Robichon’s July 1st e-mail:

On Sat, Jul 1, 2017 at 4:38 PM, Noelle Robichon <noellerobichon@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Skaters,
It is with a very heavy heart and reverence, I inform you of our dear friend and fellow skater, Sarah Gutkneckt’s health status. In March 2016, Sarah was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
You can follow along with her journey at https://www.caringbridge.org/public/sarahgutknecht. She was hoping to skate the August 5, Minnesota Half Marathon; however, a recent PET scan showed multiple liver metastases. She has stopped chemotherapy and has enrolled in hospice care. This week her oncologist has predicted 6 weeks to three months. She is currently “feeling well, active, and independent”.
Per my request, Sarah has given me permission to announce her health status to you; our skating community. It is my hope we optimize our opportunity to express our appreciation for Sarah, in ways that seem most personally authentic and fit to you and our skating community.
May I begin? Sarah, your smile is the window into a soul with infinite power to heal. Gracing my classes with your presence was a great honor to me. The way you looked at children in our skating classes, was a window into a soul with endless love, generosity and healing; which you freely gave. Namaste, my friend, Namaste, for an eternity.
If you so choose, Sarah’s caringbridge site has a place for comment and tribute.
Please forward the information to any other skating community member who may not be on this list.
Warm Regards,


When I mentioned this situation to a co-worker he told me about a year ago his mother wasn’t feeling well.  His father took her to the doctor and they ran some tests.  The doctor diagnosed her and issued a prescription for a minor condition.  The doctor then turned to my friend’s father and asked what was wrong with him.  Nothing, I feel fine, was the response.  The doctor told him he looked terrible and ran some tests that lead to a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. He had felt just fine and suddenly had a terminal diagnosis.

There are countless walks/runs/events/marketing campaigns/nfl promotions to raise “awareness” for breast cancer.  Can you find one damn person on the planet that isn’t aware of breast cancer?  Obviously, its tragic when it happens, but everyone is “aware” of breast cancer.  What is a pancreas? Spell pancreas.  Where is it located? What does it do?  What are the cancer symptoms? What causes it? How can it be prevented?  No one has any awareness of one of the most deadly forms of cancer.  One of the reasons it is highly deadly is that the symptoms are not specific to the disease and do not present until the cancer has spread in many cases.  Symptoms include weight loss, jaundice, dark urine, light stool color, itching, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, back pain, bloating, diarrhea, malaise, loss of appetite, elevated blood sugar, and enlarged lymph nodes.

Three weeks after Noelle’s e-mail, Sarah posted the following to her CaringBridge site:

Journal entry by Sarah Gutknecht — 7/23/2017

Hi, everyone! I hope you are enjoying the summer. It’s so great to be outdoors and enjoy the sun et al.

Well, it has been an interesting few weeks. A recent PET scan revealed numerous new metastases. There is also increased uptake in the pancreas tumor itself. So, after my initial chemo regimen, followed by immunotherapy, followed by two separate chemo regimens, my oncologist has advised to stop treatment. It has been bittersweet, to say the least!

I was immediately enrolled in the hospice service, and have been receiving great care. I have been assigned to a supportive team. They visit me at my home. Medications and equipment are delivered to my home. Very convenient.

Late last week I had a new onset of right leg pain and swelling. I had an ultrasound on Friday evening that confirmed a right leg DVT (deep vein thrombosis: blood clot). This is apparently a fairly common complication related to pancreatic cancer. I was admitted to “observation” overnight at the hospital for monitoring and initiating Lovenox (“blood thinner”) injections.

I have tried very hard to accept my situation, emotions have been all over the map. A Kubler-Ross amalgamation. But to actually wear a “DNAR” identification band (do not attempt resuscitation) really brought it home. Wow. This is really happening.

I am so lucky to have such great support from family, friends, and colleagues, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Thanks everyone for your support, gifts, food, cards, etc. I love you all.

On Saturday morning, August 5th, Sarah wasn’t able to skate as we all had hoped.  After the race a gathering was held at the Liffey in downtown St. Paul, but Sarah wasn’t feeling well enough to attend either the race or the post race festivities.  Here is a photo from the Liffey:

From left to right: The Steltz family, Mike Dahms, Greg Miller, Pat Melby, Ryan Mullery, Michael Mullery, Andy Uttke, Paul Meyering, Christina Larson-Dickson, Melissa Dahlmann, Matt Dickson, Martha Flynn Kauth, Ovid Westin, Dan Collins, James Kauth, Alex Harvey (not pictured but in attendance included Bill Gabos, Noelle Robichon, Jeff Bachmann, John Schulte, and Gary Yanagita)

I wrote a lengthy letter to a graduating speedskater earlier this summer providing some unsolicited advice.  My closing paragraph read:

Time speeds up.  The next two decades of your life will go by so much faster than the first two.  I write above about college experiences and it feels like it was a couple of years ago, not your entire lifetime ago.  I was in college, with a bowl of cereal in my hand, watching the morning news when the planes hit the towers on 9/11.  You were eating cereal too . . . in your diapers. It goes fast.  If there are things you want to do in life, don’t put them off.  If there are places you want to travel to then find a way to do that promptly.  Businesses and careers will rise and fall, relationships will come and go.  People you thought would always be there will pass on or let you down. Accept that no one gets out of this alive, so make the most of the gifts and the time you were given.  Be a positive upright individual that believes tomorrow will be better.  But know tomorrow won’t be better unless you work today to make it better.  Lead a life that someone will find interesting when you tell your story seventy years from now in a nursing home.

Sarah is a positive upright individual that worked to make tomorrow better for her patients, her family, and her friends.  Some of those folks left comments on her CaringBridge website.   Here is a representative comment a skater friend posted:

I’m so happy to have been able to share so many great times with you in our skating adventures. I have always looked up to you because of your passions for skating, travel, photography and helping others.  My first ever Rollerdome Marathon was with you! I remember admiring you so much because I wanted to be a life-long skater just as you are. The very first year of the Madeline Island Race you shared that little cabin in the woods with us. Races at the oval and trying to hold our ‘figure skater’ poses for the camera. You were always one of those people who I’ve looked up to as a role model of how I want to live my life. Your diagnosis makes me shake my fist at the heavens because this isn’t supposed to happen to someone as amazing as you. Thank you for inspiring me! I am thinking of you and your family. Love and Hugs

“Keep the rubber on the road.”

Media Machine NSIM 2007

Image result for sarah gutknecht media machine





Over the years Sarah and Ann Kools were responsible for some of the fine photography on inlineskatempls.com.  The one above is among my favorites. Andy Kostka leading the paceline with Brent Bovitz, Paul Meyering, Matt Meyer, Ted Petrosky, Greg Miller, John Schulte, Randy Landucci, and Michael Mullery giving chase.  Even little Jesse Peterson is visible in the top right corner.