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Jane Wipf Wiebe



The 1976 Freeman High graduate was among South Dakota's first female long-distance runners – and she still ranks among the best.

Her running career started with track and cross country in the early 1970s, when distance races first became available to girls. Her early successes included three consecutive state titles in the mile run and two national AAU Junior Olympic cross country championships, at ages 15 and 16. She was voted High School Girls Athlete of the Year by the South Dakota Sportswriters in 1975, and South Dakota Independent Female Athlete of the Year in 1980.

She ran track and cross country at Utah State University for two years before abandoning those shorter races to enjoy the road races popping up around the country as the running boom gained traction. She found her distance in the marathon – finally something that lasted awhile!

From 1978 to 1985 she ran in over 30 marathons, with some of those years devoted to other pursuits (like bicycle touring).There were some wins of small marathons earlier, but winning the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City in 1980 got her a free ticket to the Honolulu Marathon. There she finished second and broke 2:40 for the first time, which led to invitations all over the world.  Her best times were 2:37:16 (Seattle, 1984, 1st) and 2:37:18 (Boston, 1983, 6th). She won marathons in Holland, Cleveland, Brookings, California, many in Utah, twice in Seattle. She was second in the Tokyo Women's Marathon and also second at the Stockholm Marathon.

Her marathon career ended when she chose to join her future husband commercial fishing in Alaska in 1985.














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