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Runners get their color on

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The Cole Drechsler family after the race. Cole died a week before last year’s color run after a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and his family and friends decided last year to celebrate his loving and colorful personality by participating in the race he had planned to participate in. This year, Cole’s father wore his tennis shoes around his neck, while the two remaining Drechsler triplets wore Cole’s sunglasses in memory of their brother.4 / 18
The eLogger team won the prize for best costume5 / 18
Steve Micke (from left) Steven Anderson, Kerry Kolodge and Tom Marciniak wear neon T-shirts that spelled out C-O-L-E, one letter at a time.6 / 18
Two Superwomen ran in the Color Run7 / 18
Contestants for "most color" line up for judging8 / 18
Andy Eliason was 9 / 18
Oldest and youngest runners — Brandice Sauter, 6, and Marcia Gurno, 6410 / 18
Color "artist" Ali Chalberg after the race.11 / 18
Chad runs the Color Run.12 / 18
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Abbi Sewell (left) and Macy Olson took first place for the 5K women's race.15 / 18
Brittny Hillstrom of Carlton took first place in the 2.5K race16 / 18
This mystery runner won the men's race, coming in first for both the 2.5K and 5K race (two laps). 17 / 18
When all the festivities were finished, the remaining participants tossed packets of extra color in the air, creating a colorful mist in front of the finish line. This year’s race raised approximately $10,500 for the Cloquet Rotary, which donates to a number of local causes. 18 / 18

A verdant Pine Valley got dusted with pastels Saturday, as more than 300 people embraced their bold and beautiful side during the third annual Cloquet Rotary Color Run.

More of a “happening” than a competition, the color run is more about fun than records. Organized by the Rotary Club, racers usually wear white (although some wear capes) and, as they run, are showered with bright cornstarch colors by volunteers manning different stations along the route. It is not officially timed and racers can either walk or run.

Judy Poss, Rotary president and color run chair, said the club was delighted with the turnout of both runners and volunteers, as well as the way the event has evolved.

“It has become a great community event. It’s not only a place to gather and greet friends and neighbors,” Poss said, “but we had teams running in memory of a loved one and also had runners who came to support friends who were critically ill — in honor of them. The Rotary’s mission is ‘Service Above Self,’ and each member of the community who participated did just that. They came to support our noble cause.”

Again, the family and friends of Cole Drechsler were a dominant presence at the race. Drechsler died a week before last year’s color run after a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and his family and friends decided last year to celebrate his loving and colorful personality by participating in the race he had planned to participate in.

This year, Cole’s father wore his tennis shoes around his neck, while the two remaining Drechsler triplets wore Cole’s sunglasses in memory of their brother.

The family held a silent auction to raise money for a study space in the new health sciences area at the College of St. Scholastica in memory of Cole, who was studying to be a physician’s assistant at the university in Duluth, in addition to selling “Live COLErfully” T-shirts and giving away multi-colored bracelets reading “I came. I saw. I loved.”

Some community members even came simply to support the Drechsler cause but not run, including four men — Steve Micke (from left) Steven Anderson, Kerry Kolodge and Tom Marciniak wearing neon T-shirts that spelled out C-O-L-E, one letter at a time.

“We’re here to support the wonderful Drechsler family,” said Marciniak. “If there were more families like that, it would be a much better world.”

While there was no award for first place, prizes were awarded following the race, including the following:

  • Oldest and youngest runners — Brandice Sauter, 6, and Marcia Gurno, 64

  • Best team theme — Team Cole Drechsler

  • Best costume — Team eLogger

  • Most colorful — Andy Elias, with Molly Chalberg as a close second place

  • The prize for longest distance traveled was won by a group of runners from Germany.

When all the festivities were finished, the remaining participants tossed packets of extra color in the air, creating a colorful mist in front of the finish line.

Poss said this year’s race raised approximately $10,500.

The Cloquet Rotary serves the community by providing grants locally to not for profits, special projects,  scholarships, literacy program for kindergarteners and third graders, among others. Over the past 15 years the Cloquet Rotary has contributed over $475,000 to the area, Poss said.

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