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Lumberjack Laps features fun and fitness

This year, the Lumberjack Laps race day celebrates five years of getting kids and their family members up and running on a Saturday morning.

Race organizer and Washington Elementary P.E. teacher Patty Rothamel said it’s all about having fun while being active.

“The kids get something out of the races — the fun of competing, race bags, time with their family and friends — and they don’t even realize they’re getting exercise, because they’re having so much fun,” Rothamel said.

The races are run around the track at Cloquet High School, according to age groups. That means there’s no long course for parents to camp out on to watch their kids run … everyone can have the same view from the grandstand (unless they’re on the track running with a little one!).

The Lumberjack Laps serves as a fundraiser for Washington, with all profits going toward paying off the loans for the school’s new playground equipment and technology purchases at the school. (Churchill Elementary School holds its own “River Run” 5K and mile-race event/fundraiser in the fall every year.)

This year’s Lumberjack Laps starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, with same day registration starting at 8:45 a.m. Cost to register is $8 a person on race day.

Races vary in length from a 100-yard dash for ages 4 and younger, a quarter mile for ages 5-8, a half mile for 9-12 year olds. Anyone 18 and younger can compete in the Lumberjack Mile; folks 19 and older may also enter the Legacy Mile walk/run.

Back for a second year is the Age to Age Family Fun Mile, which is a relay race. Extended family members can put together a team of four to run in a non-competitive, one-mile relay race. Teams must consist of at least two participants age 16 and younger.

This year, a number of Washington staff members are not only talking the talk of physical well being, they’re also walking the walk.

At the beginning of the school year, staff members were asked if anyone wanted to compete in a Biggest Loser competition. Twenty staff members have been doing weekly weigh-ins with the ultimate goal to lose weight, have fun doing it and participating in the Lumberjack Laps.

“Showing our students that the staff here at Washington is committed to being healthy and ending it by running the Lumberjack Laps is a fun, healthy way to promote fitness here in our school,” Washington school nurse Vickie Nordin said. “Hopefully running the Lumberjack Laps is not the end of getting out and exercising but continues to be a lifelong journey to fitness, and being healthy inside and out.”

While the focus is fun, the races are timed and there is an awards ceremony following the races. There is also a mascot race, an auction filled with all kinds of locally donated goodies, games and concessions.

All finishers ages 12 and younger will get participation ribbons, while the top three boy and girl finishers in each division for 18 and younger will receive a medal.

Folks who already registered can pick up race packets in the Washington School gymnasium between 3 and 4 p.m. Friday to avoid lines Saturday morning. The Silent Auction will begin Friday and end at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.