The Dutchman’s Dash has all the elements of a great event; impassioned organizers, a worthy cause, universal appeal, community support, and a fun atmosphere. Blaine and Morgan Swinford are the driving force behind the Dutchman’s Dash. They are both very quick to acknowledge and thank the host of volunteers who make the event possible. The Swinfords and volunteers are motivated to make the event succeed in raising awareness and funding for the Alzheimer Association. Organizers honor family matriarchs Mary Rose Popst and Alice Marie Kiefer and their personal battles with the disease. Chaffee, Missouri is a town of 3000 that provides excellent support for the annual fundraiser in the form of sponsors, volunteers and participants.
The Dash features a Biathlon, Fun Ride and 5K Run/Walk which provides active opportunities for a wide range of participants. The Biathlon is a 14 bike mile ride over the hills and curves between Chaffee and Kelso. The hills provide for a challenging but enjoyable ride through the rural scenery on well-paved country roads. The reward for completing the ride is a 5 mile run that starts with a vertical climb that brings the best runners quickly to a walking pace. Once atop the ridge, runners are treated to a shaded trail run of about 3 miles around Lake Twappity before finishing with a nice stretch of flat, paved surface to the finish line.
The fun ride follows the same cycling course as the Biathlon, which I’m guessing is much prettier at a more leisurely pace. The 5K is the most popular event with over 120 participants ranging from sub-20 minute runners to families with wagons and strollers. The running and cycling communities of southeast Missouri join the people of Chaffee to help make the annual event successful.
Post-race activities include awesome awards, a ton of door prizes, beer and home-made bratwursts. For those who may be unfamiliar, home-made means a team of volunteers mix the meat and spices, stuff the casings and then cook these gems to perfection. Last year, I had a pineapple brat which was way more amazing than it sounds. This year I had one that was more traditional with a nice balance of spice, heat and smoke.
Kudos to Missouri Running Company who did an excellent job of managing the chip-timed races and posting results same day. Kevin Hammes was the overall male winner with a 5k time of 18:23. Courtney Arnold was the female 5K winner, finishing in 23:34. In the Biathlon, Paul Stemmerman took first with a course-record 1:10:06. Rene Kunstmuller finished first among females at 1:50:37. The first team to cross the line in the Biathlon was Tim Vollink and Joe Windeknecht at 1:15:17.
I finished the Biathlon in 1:36:07 which was about 30 seconds faster than last year but 3 minutes slower than my best on the course. I really look forward to this race for the challenging course, the excellent camaraderie and the worthy cause it supports.