About 1,500 runners laced up their shoes on Friday and Saturday, April 17 to 18 at SCSU’s Halenbeck Hall for the Scheels Earth Day Run. Runners of all ages were welcome to participate in the variety of runs, which included a 1K, 5K and a half-marathon.
This year marked the 16th year of the event, which is part of a two-day festival that celebrates Earth Day. The race takes place on St. Cloud State University’s campus and takes runners along the Mississippi River, through the Beaver Island Trail, and finishes at Husky Stadium. It is organized to celebrate Earth Day, which is coming up on April 22.
The 5K was open to everyone, but they also had a 5k corporate challenge for members of area workplaces. This year, there were 33 teams that competed in the race, with the team, “HOT PURSUIT!” taking home the gold.
The Scheels Half Marathon event had over 1,000 participants competing in the 13.1-mile course.
Story continues below
One of the participants, Joe Klein, was excited to do the run because his 89-year-old mother Rita Klein was there to support him. It was the fourth time he ran the Earth Day Run, but it was the first time his mother was able to come out and watch.
“I had a personal record that I’m giving my mom credit for. She was here cheering me on. I ran in 1:35:30, which is great,” Klein said. “She brought her rosary, I think she was praying for me.”
Running didn’t necessarily “run” in their family, but Rita said she seemed to get plenty of it running after her 13 children, of which Joe is in the middle at number eight.
People from all over the community in all shapes and sizes attended to support runners. Competitor Sara Carlson had a few cheerleaders of her own, including her two children Kyler, age 8 and Jaycee, age 6.
Kyler explained he enjoys running the mile and fifty-yard-dash in school. But, when it comes to what they want to be when they grow up, they have a different plan.
“I want to be a football player.” he said.
After a little bit of thought, Jaycee replied saying, “I want to be a good leader.”
Their mom, Sara explained that everyone has different passions, and road running has always been one of hers.
“It was a perfect day, just a beautiful, sunny, spring day. Couldn’t have asked for a better day, I had a personal record by about four minutes.”
To finish off the Scheels Earth Day Run festivities, there was a concert featuring Hairball that was held in Sartell.