Originally published July 1, 2017 in the White Bear Press.
By Bruce Strand, sports contributor
Atop the list of White Bear Lake residents who finished Grandma’s Marathon is a man about to become one of the community’s most influential leaders, Wayne Kazmierczak.
The 46-year-old educator who’ll take over as superintendent of schools on July 1 posted an impressive time of three hours, six minutes and 23 seconds for the 26.2-mile trek from Two Harbors to Duluth on June 13. He placed 319th among 6,441 runners overall, and 13th among 344 in his age/gender group (45-49).
‘Running has always been an important part of my life, although there are times when I don’t get out as much as I would like,” Kazmierczak told the White Bear Press. “Every aspect of my life seems to go better when I’m consistently running. I tend to achieve a better work/life balance when I’m committed to a marathon training plan.”
Kazmierczak has run “approximately 30” marathons, with a personal-best of 2:49 at Grandma’s in 1997, while the June 13 run was his fourth-best ever. He posted a 3:20 in February at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and plans to run the Twin Cities or Mankato marathon in the fall.
Growing up near the Canadian border in tiny Stephen, Minn., best known athletically as a state power in nine-man football, Kazmierczak was a football, basketball and track athlete, and added cross country to football his senior year. He then ran for University of North Dakota in track and cross country.
Earlier in his career, he coached cross country, track and basketball while teaching business education in the Minnetonka school district.
“It’s so important that children are physically active and that they carry forward some level of physical activity into adulthood,” he stated, when asked about the connection between physical and academic wellness. “Emphasizing this valuable lesson to our students is a responsibility that we all share along with our dedicated physical education teachers.”
About the new post he’ll officially assume on Saturday, Kazmierczak says he is “truly humbled to have been tapped” and eager to start.
“The future is very bright; our population is increasing, we enjoy tremendous support from our communities, we have dedicated employees, and our students can be assured that our focus will continue to be on their well being and on providing opportunities to help them achieve their goals.”