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A unique new kind of race comes to Pine Valley

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When last we left Cloquet’s Tim Krohn, he was running in Antarctica. Now, he’s much closer to home — running across Pine Valley nature area in Cloquet.

On Sept. 4, Krohn will act as race organizer for the fifth annual Labor Day race, featuring three different events designed to take advantage of the trails inside Pine Valley in a variety of ways.

Runners can choose between a 5.5-kilometer run around the outer loop of the facility, an 11-kilometer run (once in each direction) around the same course — and a special event, one never before held in the area: the 20K Lost Forester Adventure Run.

The Adventure Run race will feature runs across the trails — and through the woods connecting them — instead of on them.

“It’s definitely a new idea,” Krohn said. “It’s not going to be easy.”

Participants will head into the woods and follow ribbons to reach a central point. There they will meet the “Lost Forester,” obtain a special card to prove the participant reached the checkpoint, and receive a surprise.

“I can’t tell you what it is,” Krohn said, “otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise.”

Participants then have another challenge. They’ll receive a map and need to bring a compass, which they must use to find the finish line, located somewhere west of the Pine Valley area.

“It’s going to be an interesting event,” said Krohn, who used to be forester with Potlatch and overseas. “The idea is to have it be a combination of running and orienteering.”

All proceeds from all three runs will be donated to a special fund set up to benefit the Blue House Orphanage in Kazo, Uganda. Krohn came up with the idea on a trip there with his daughter, who was in country to assist in efforts to treat HIV among the local population. According to its website, Blue House Orphanage is home to about 40 Ugandan girls.

“They don’t have as great a problem with it (HIV) as some places in Africa do, but it’s a problem nonetheless,” Krohn said. “The problem really spoke to me.”

The greater historical problem in Uganda has been war. Dictator Idi Amin ordered the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people in the 1970s and more recently, fringe groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army have brought bloodshed to the area.

“Amin was brutal but now the conflict has spread to South Sudan, many of whose refugees go to Uganda,” Krohn said. The present wars in the region affect the nearby Central African Republic as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

So Krohn is hopeful that his race, which last year attracted 65 runners, will bring in more this year and provide a greater benefit. “We’re hoping for 100 runners in the field in all three races — everything helps,” he said.

Krohn plans to limit entries in the Adventure Run to 25 people to limit impact on the local environment. At press time, there were 13 runners signed up. All three races start at 8:30 a.m.

“Anyone wearing flannel will get a time bonus,” Krohn said, in a nod to the ‘forester’ motif of the event. “But really, we’re hoping for a good turnout and a good day.”

For more information on the race, visit “Lost Forester Adventure Run” on Facebook or www.lostforester.com.

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