by Dennis Dalman
When Sartell Mayor Joe Perske said he was running for elective office, he wasn’t kidding – in more ways than one.
So far this season, the DFL’er has run in five marathons while campaigning for the U.S. Sixth Congressional House seat now occupied by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater).
On June 29, Perske ran an 8k race in the Spud Fest Lakers Run in Big Lake. He crossed the finish line with John Bruns, Big Lake High School’s cross-country coach.
On July 4, he ran a 5k race down the parade route in front of thousands just prior to the parade in Delano.
Perske’s previous races were in the Old Glory Run 5k in Cold Spring, the Killebrew Root Beer Run 5k in St. Francis, and the Sartell SummerFest 5k, which he ran with two of his three daughters, Jenna and Michaela.
Perske, a former teacher and coach, has run 100 marathons and won 20 of them. His first was in 1974 – the Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Michigan. His last big-event marathon was the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2000. His fastest time in a marathon was in Berlin, Germany when he finished in 2 hours 17 minutes 52 seconds.
“Running for the Sixth U.S. Congressional seat,” Perske has often said, “will be the toughest marathon of my life.”
In his life, Perske estimates he has run more than 96,000 miles, the equivalent of nearly four times around the circumference of planet Earth.
Perske keeps running – in more ways than one.
Sartell Mayor Joe Perske (right) crosses the finish line in the 8k Spud Fest Lakers Run in Big Lake. Also crossing the line is John Bruns, cross-country coach at Big Lake High School. Perske has participated in many marathons during his run as DFL candidate for the U.S. House Sixth Congressional seat.