Geezer chase raises a run of money

Two-mile fundraiser starts off season


Mya Stanberry

Sophomore Will Carpenter runs along St. Louis Park Cross Country supporters. The team ran two miles 6:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Middle School Sept. 24.

Elena Ortiz-Fishman and Maren Wilsey

Racing around the 2 mile bend of the middle school, the cross country team barreled through its only fundraiser of the year.

The Geezer Chase is an yearly race, open for anyone to test their speed against Park’s team. Those older than 18 were given a two-minute head start, while the rest of the team raced to catch up Aug. 24. 

As the 19th annual race came to a close, head cross country coach Chris Nordstrom said he was delighted by the turnout. 

“At six o’clock, we had over 210 people registered. My hope is that we can maintain the tradition but continue to make it a more of a community event, add food trucks, just make it something before school starts (and) the season really gets going,” Nordstrom said. “Something that our families and community can be involved in.”

For captain and junior Tommy Walsh, the race served as a good opener for the season as it provided runners with a relaxed, low-stakes atmosphere. 

“It’s a really safe spot, especially for your first year to have your first race, because everyone there is from your city, or they’re on your team,” Walsh said. “It’s really not intimidating. It’s at a local place, and it’s a great way to start off the season.”

According to Nordstrom, this fundraiser allows captains to organize fun things for the team throughout the season without having to worry about the financial aspect. This year, the event was hosted at the middle school, which Nordstrom said had additional benefits. 

“It’s our second year at the middle school and we liked the venue better than Louisiana Oaks. It’s a little more open, a little better for a race, community, people and families,” Nordstrom said. “Overall, the team is great. Our numbers are down a little bit in comparison to past years, but we’ve got such a great group.”

Sophomore Paige Descarpentrie said members of the team have been practicing together since June. While she’s been continuously challenging herself during summer practice, she said there was very little pressure in running in the Geezer Chase. 

“For a lot of people, it’s a time trial for the start of the race,” Descarpentrie said. “It’s been going pretty good. I feel like we’ve already been doing this for so long because I’ve been running with the team since June. I’ve been trying to run with people who I know are faster than me, so that I’m pushing myself more.”

In past years, there’s been an opportunity to participate virtually, which Nordstrom said has helped to engage those who may not be able to show up in-person. 

“People were able to run their two miles, and submit their time. You’re still able to do it even through COVID(-19). And we thought, well, there still might be people who can’t make it but still want to run — so we’ve just kept the virtual option on there.” 

Due to the strong team dynamic and turn-out, Walsh said the fundraiser went well. 

“Everyone who came had a lot of fun and it seemed like it was a success. The team as a whole has been really fun and worked well together,” Walsh said. “I can’t say I’m super excited for the racing part of it, but just the team atmosphere I’m really enjoying.”