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Half marathon set up to honor April Sorensen

We have no idea how tough life has been for the family and friends of April Sorensen, 27, who was murdered in her Rochester home on April 17, 2007.

It might be easy to say "I know how you must feel," but we don’t. How could we? The grief the family has carried for over a year now must be unbearable.

And not only that, but the murder remains unsolved. The killer even set the house on fire in order to cover up the crime.

"Some days are easier to take than others," said Holly Larson, April’s younger sister, best friend and often times running partner. "But it’s never easy."

Not willing to sit back in a ball of self-pity, last fall April’s family and friends talked about ways to honor her memory and, really, they didn’t have to think for long. It was a no-brainer because April loved to run.

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"Running and exercise were a huge part of her life," Holly said. "She loved it."

The family decided to organize a race in her memory and thus, the first April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon was organized. The July 12 race (8 a.m.) starts in Albert Lea, where April graduated from high school in 1998, and finishes at Hayward, a mile from the family home.

"We have no idea what to expect in terms of numbers," said Holly, who is serving as the race director. "Right now, we’re close to 200 and very happy with that. I know one thing — if April were here, she would be absolutely thrilled."

Proceeds go toward facilities of the Blazing Star Trail, a hiking, biking and running trail which eventually will link Albert Lea to Austin. High school scholarships also will be given in April Sorensen’s name.

That’s only part of it.

"More than the money raised, what we’re trying to do is remember April’s life, the good times, the things she did," Larson said.

"It just happens the weekend of the race is April’s 10-year class reunion and several of her classmates will be running. We have registrations from all over, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arizona. I guess she touched a lot of lives."

The sisters ran hundreds of miles together.

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"Obviously, when she moved to Rochester, we didn’t train as much together," said Larson, who still lives in Hayward, "but whenever we got together we would find time to run or walk. At least we would do something physical."

Holly, April and their father — Jon Larson — ran several races together, including marathons.

"We did Grandmas, Twin Cities, Chicago and one in Phoenix," Holly Larson said.

April Sorensen played basketball and volleyball in high school at Albert Lea, and then she attended the Mankato School of Cosmetology. In 2003, she moved to Rochester with her new husband Joshua and was taking classes at Rochester Community and Technical College when she died.

The half marathon is being held in conjunction with Hayward Days.

"April was always so enthusiastic about life, she always had a smile on her face," said Holly, who helped launch the Web site in her sister’s memory — www.livelaughloverun.com

"She was always kind to everyone she met. It’s still hard to believe she’s gone."

Paul Christian is a Post-Bulletin sports writer. He can be reached at

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pchristian@postbulletin.com

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