By: Andrea Finke Oevering
When shorts were short and socks were high, a local athlete won a road race on a chilly spring afternoon. It was the first of April, a first for Robin Randall, and a first for Lewiston. The year was 1979, and Robin took home the trophy for the 1-mile Fools Five Road Race! As a recently married 20-year-old Winona State University track athlete, Robin ran a 7:24 mile and recalls the feeling of pride and community for her hometown. She had recently lost her good friend, Kim Huhnerkoch, in whose memory a trophy was given that day.
Larry and Grace Schultz, along with their 5-year-old daughter Heather, were also at the race. He had heard about it while working at Camera Art and knew the family would want to support the community event. He recalled collecting pledges for the race and, more specifically, his running partners—Al Somers and Pat Kreidermacher. The trio would continue this event for years. Grace would always cheer. Traditions began that chilly spring afternoon in 1979.
While Fools Five gained prominence as a well-run competitive early-season race in the 1980s, Larry and Grace were busy building their lives on Williams Street. They recently recalled the 1986 race. It was just after Grace’s mother, Anna Eversman of Plainview, passed away from cancer. With that loss in the family, a commitment to Fools Five was born, and each year since, 30 to 40 family members gather and participate in Fools Five. Larry remembered that “everyone would come over and walk with grandpa in his wheelchair to the race.” George Eversman, Grace Schultz’s father, the widower of Mrs. Eversman, was always “very good about giving the grandkids red licorice after the race.” It also became a tradition to take a family picture near the starting line on Main Street. The picture eventually included all four children–Heather, Cory, Kelly, and Anna.
In the same decade, across town on Fremont, Robin and husband Lee participated in and supported Fools Five. Robin and her siblings would start the day at her house, run or walk the race, and head back for a get together.
“In the early years,” Robin said, “Lee would not train in advance, run in Converse shoes, and have a decent 5-mile time.” Their children (Ryan, Liza, Lana, Roby, and Isiah) and cousins advanced from strollers or wagons and began their own Fools Five running careers. The extended family now is so large they have to spread the get together into more than one house! Robin’s folks, Ron and Rita Erdmann, were the eldest in the Erdmann family to support the race. Sadly, both of them succumbed to the effects of cancer in 2006 and 2009. During that time period, Robin joined the Lewiston Area Cancer Support Group and is now in a leadership role within the group. It is one of the many ways she supports the community and Fools Five. In addition to the race, the family is also involved with the annual auction. It is in Mr. and Mrs. Erdmann’s memory, along with those of Lee’s father John Randall, uncles, co-workers, and one recently deceased brother-in-law, Steve Schell, that they continue to support Fools Five.
For many area residents, Fools Five is something special, an annual must-do. Those who read through the race results or volunteer during race weekend realize that the race hosts participants from all around the world. This year’s logo is inspired by a supporter from out of town, a long-time Fools Five participant from Plainview. Several years ago, Pat Therneau sent Fools Five a note, shared that she is a cancer survivor, and suggested a future logo theme. Her words were “walking the walk and talking the talk.” This past winter, Fools Five Treasurer LouAnn Wiens read in the newspaper that Mrs. Therneau had passed away. Remembering the logo suggestion, she went through her paperwork and found the handwritten note. Pleased with her theme, the Fools Five Committee chose “Walking the Walk for 40 years” as the 2018 Logo. Thus, in support of cancer survivors, in honor of those who have passed before, with pride in the athleticism witnessed, and in celebrating our town’s beloved tradition, the committee invites you to participate in the 40th Annual Fools Road Race!