Runners get their color on
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.