Running Club’s Midwinter Cruise Won by Young Athlete from South Sudan

Wal Khat winner
Wal Khat from South Sudan won the 2012 Midwinter Cruise. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- He came from the world’s newest country and finished first in one of the United States’ coldest races.

Sixteen-year-old Wal Khat of South Sudan finished first at the Park Forest Running and Pancake Club’s 2012 Midwinter Cruise.

Before the race, the eventual-first-place winner said he was, "Feeling good." Mom and Dad live in South Sudan, and must be very proud of their son, who obviously adjusted very well from the African heat to the winter of Park Forest.

Michelle Power was running her first race ever. How did she feel? "Nervous!" she told ENEWSPF.

Connor Kaurich and Stacy Travis from Schererville, Indiana, were also running first-ever races, choosing their road-racing debuts in 21 degree Park Forest.

Runners ranged from age 9 to 83, according to race director Joanne Rock.

ENEWSPF caught up with Carl Hays, age 78, Bob Hooper, 70, from Crown Point, IN, Mike Moskalick, 67, also from Crown Point, Israel Toledo, 64, and Jim Barry, 77, from New Lenox.

The winner, Wal Khat, stays at Mooseheart Child City & School, according to Angela Pope, a family teacher in a Maryland/Delaware/D.C. home. A family teacher to ten teen males, Pope works at Mooseheart.

"It is the most awesome place ever," Pope says. "We house about 250 kids from birth to graduation. We’re coming up on our 100th year anniversary in 2013." Wal Khat is one of four children from South Sudan living with Mooseheart.

"He loves to run. That’s all he thinks about is running. He’s a good kid," Pope says.

Dick Lamermayer of Aurora, IL, got the prize for being the oldest runner participating in the Cruise. At 83, he was the only octogenarian to register and show up for the race. He was pleased with his finish, which was 2 minutes 12 seconds faster than his race the previous day, Saturday, in Burbank, IL.

Yes, the man is an 83-year-old running machine.

The race drew over 200 runners. Temperature at race time?

A comfortable 21 degrees.

More pictures from the race are here.