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Runners go with the flow at annual River Run

A group of ‘guys with ties’ enjoy each other’s company during the River Run Saturday. Aaron South (from left) forgot his tie but wore his River Run shirt to race with his buddies Eli Jazdzewski, Emmet Prosen, and Owen Brenner. Jana Peterson/ 1 / 6
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Cloquet’s Tanner Schubitzae waves his cowbell in support of his family. All of them ran the race, including mom, dad, brother and two sisters, who all ran the 5K race Saturday. 3 / 6
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Saturday dawned cool and gray with a slight threat of rain — a perfect day for runners in the ninth annual Cloquet River Run.

A total of 269 people turned out to run and walk the 5K race from Churchill Elementary School down to and across the St. Louis River and another 221 ran the 1-mile race around the Churchill neighborhood.

“We had another heart-warming and successful Cloquet River Run,” said race chair Stef Gunelson. “I just love how it brings both the school and the community together to participate in fitness.

The River Run is organized by the Churchill Partners in Education (PIE) group. Seventy percent of race proceeds go toward health and fitness-related programs and equipment and 30 percent will be used for school technology maintenance.

“We raise funds for fitness through fitness,” Gunelson added. “It’s a great day. People from age 2 to 82 came out to walk or run, to visit, to eat, to just be a community.”

Michael Weaver, 21, was the overall winner of this year’s 5K, completing the challenging course in 19:14, followed by Jimmer Hagerl in second and Randy Wiinanen in third. Kym Kemi Jolstad was first for the women in 23:29, followed by Yvette Maijala in second and Linda Weiner in third.

Fifteen-year-old Thomas Heren took first in the 1-mile race with a time of 6:08, followed by AJ Maijala, 14, in second in 6:13 and Harry Cottrell, 70, in third place running the mile in 6:24. The first girl to cross the finish line was 11-year-old Charlotte Ripp, in 6:57, just ahead of Olivia Macaulay, 13, in 6:59. Lauren Hughes, age 8, finished third for the girls in 7:09 for the mile.

This year’s event raised approximately $7,500 for health and fitness initiatives and technology at Churchill.

Gunelson added a giant thank you to all sponsors, volunteers and participants