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One Moment, Please... Another year in the books

Fri, Dec 6th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

The fifth annual Fillmore County Turkey Day Run attracted roughly 65 participants ready to hit the Root River State Trail on Thanksgiving morning. Photo by Jason Sethre

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. This year, just like the past four years, I joined a group of friends to run the Fillmore County Turkey Day Run -- 10.3 miles from Lanesboro to Preston along the Root River State Trail.

The weather started out a little brisk compared to other years, but after a few miles into the run, it felt pretty comfortable.

Our voyage this year attracted roughly 65 runners and walkers from places like Eyota, Rochester, Preston, Rushford, Chatfield, Harmony, Decorah, Peterson, Plymouth, Fountain, Onalaska, Lanesboro, Eagle Lake, Aurora, Eagan, and Spring Valley.

Every year, I get to meet and chat with people from all over the region. Some of the participants are casual walkers while others are hardcore marathoners. This year, while my father was shuttling a group of us back to Lanesboro from Preston, I spoke with a married couple that participated in ultra marathons. The longest race they participated in was 135 miles. Whoa! Yes, 135 miles. And, this race had to be completed in less than 60 hours. They said that participants were required to wear gear rated for temperatures of 20 below zero, along with hauling a 30 to 60 pound pack on a sled that contained a small grill, tent, sleeping bag and 3,000 calories-worth of food. And, to make this even more challenging, this race was up in northern Minnesota during the month of February. So, I guess the 10.3 mile Fillmore County Turkey Day Run is just a little warm-up for them. But, it is interesting to hear about the adventures of other people.

Now celebrating five years, this event started in 2009 when a group of guys (Craig Britton, Jim Peters, Ross Kiehne, Jason Schwarz, and myself) began running on Saturday mornings on the Root River State Trail. We figured the challenge of running from Lanesboro to Preston would give us some motivation to stay healthy as long as possible before the snow hit the ground.

The first year, we had a small crowd of 23 participants. We have never expected a lot of people to commit to make a journey of 10.3 miles. Most people are comfortable with a 5k, but not 10.3 miles. So, we know there’s a limited audience for this run. Plus, it is on Thanksgiving morning, and people are busy traveling to family gatherings.

But, somehow, each year this event has gained a few more participants. And with those gains, there is a ripple effect.

We don’t require any fee to participate in the annual Fillmore County Turkey Day Run. We only ask that participants bring a donation for the Fillmore County Food Shelf.

This year, the Fillmore County Food Shelf calculated a total of 170 pounds that was donated by our runners and walkers. As I spoke with Fillmore County Food Shelf Director Lynn Mensink, I learned that this food goes a long way to help those in need. In total, 280 individuals are served by our local food shelf in Fillmore County. And, for every $1 donated to the Fillmore County Food Shelf, that amounts adds up to five pounds worth of food. Talk about stretching your dollars for a good cause.

We have many reasons to be thankful for what we have, and this time of year presents an opportunity to help others who may not be so fortunate.

Whether making a donation in the red kettles of the Salvation Army or dropping off non-perishable food items at the Fillmore County Food Shelf, there are plenty of opportunities to help others.

While the Fillmore County Turkey Day Run makes me feel good knowing that I am mitigating my calorie load for the Thanksgiving holiday feast, I feel even better knowing the participants and supporters are serving a greater purpose.

And, while I didn’t see who finished in first place this year, I heard it was a Davidson from Spring Valley. And, the winner carried home a frozen 10 pound turkey (the first place prize) resting up in the tree by the tank at the Trail Head Inn in Preston. Congratulations to Mr. Davidson!

Lastly, I’d like to thank my wife, Amanda Sethre, for beating me in the 2013 Fillmore County Turkey Day Run. I will be training a little harder for next year’s run -- a rematch.

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