New year, same run, big crowd

Despite cold, 400 runners try Hangover Handicap

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Runners close in on the finish line of the Hangover Handicap in Coeur d'Alene Tuesday morning. From left are Kiki Prussian, Krista Raybell and Nicola McLachlan.

COEUR d'ALENE - Jim Wyatt first ran the Hangover Handicap way back in the 1970s.

More than 30 years later, the Coeur d'Alene man is still running - a bit slower than before, a little farther back in the pack than he would like, but still running after all these years.

And still pushing the pace as much as he can.

"It's nice to see everybody having fun because I wasn't having fun," he said, laughing.

But Wyatt did have a good time, he admitted, because he achieved his No. 1 goal in the 36th running of Tuesday's five-mile fun run.

"I had to beat my hunting buddies," he said. "That's all I had to do."

Wyatt was one of about 400 runners, walkers, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and dogs, too, who completed the New Year's Day run on a 20-degree morning. The out-and-back course that went along Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive included some icy stretches, but participants were also treated to the sight of a bald eagle flying above the lake.

While some came to run hard, most were out for fun, with a few costumes and crazy hats.

Friends Kiki Prussian, Krista Raybell and Nicola McLachlan crossed the finish line together, smiling, laughing and waving.

"It was awesome," Raybell said. "It was great to see so many people."

She came out for her first Hangover Handicap at the urging of McLachlan.

"Nicola is always my motivator. She talked me into Coeur d'Alene Tri, she talked me into this one," Raybell said.

McLachlan, competing in her third Hangover run, said it's a good way to start the new year.

"It's fun to see we're not the only crazy ones on New Year's Day to come out and run five miles."

The trio stuck together throughout the five miler.

"There's all kinds that run this race which makes it so fun, like this guy," Prussian said, pointing to 10-year-old Connor Waddell.

The Coeur d'Alene boy ran with his mom, Kristin, until sprinting away with the finish line in sight to notch a personal victory.

"I tried to catch up with him," Kristin Waddell said. "He took off.

She last ran the race nine years ago - when Connor was a baby.

"This is great way to start the new year and run with my son," she said.

Cody Curtis and David Norris, both Coeur d'Alene High School grads who now run at the University of Montana, tied for first in 28 minutes, 22 seconds. The two said they decided to finish together and eased it in, just ahead of Derek Garcia in third with a time of 28:49.

Curtis, a college freshman, has run the Hangover since he was 10 and enjoys seeing friends there and catching up on the latest happenings.

"It's a good way to get out and talk to people," he said.

Norris, a sophomore, said he enjoys the support of everyone in the race that comes for front runners after the turnaround point on the course.

"As you're going by, everyone is saying good job," he said.

Brandy Anderson was the top woman in 32:28, followed by Suzanne Endsley in 34:26, and Mindy Newby in 35:46.

The race is a fundraiser for TESH, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities learn to live independently.

"It was a perfect way for Coeur d'Alene to start the new year out," said Russ Doumas, TESH director. "We appreciate the support of the community."

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