They ran for Cole … in full color

Cloquet's second Color Run Saturday turned into a "Cole run," as friends and family of Cole Drechsler turned out in force to run in memory of the 20-year-old Cloquet man who died July 15 after injuries sustained in a car accident the previous wee...

Cole Drechsler’s immediate family, (from left) Garrett, Dawn, Paul and Trace, finish the race covered in colors. Friends and family celebrated Cole’s life and colorful personality by walking the Cloquet Color Run Saturday at Pine Valley with friends and family. Jana Peterson/

Cloquet’s second Color Run Saturday turned into a “Cole run,” as friends and family of Cole Drechsler turned out in force to run in memory of the 20-year-old Cloquet man who died July 15 after injuries sustained in a car accident the previous weekend.

Friends and family laughed and cried as they crossed the finish line in Pine Valley, tears and sweat making pathways through the layers of cornstarch colors accumulated throughout the 2.5-kilometer race.

At the finish line - her face a rollercoaster of emotions - Cole’s mother, Dawn Drechsler, said it was a good morning.

“It was exactly what Cole would have wanted,” she said, “and something we probably wouldn’t have done. We’re all here,” she added, indicating her husband, the couple’s sons, Garrett and Trace (the two remaining "Drechsler triplets"), her mother, brother and Cole’s other aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

“It’s how Cole looked at people. They were all family,” she continued, between hugs. “What an amazing community.”


Cole Drechsler was driving south on Minnesota Highway 61 near Knife River just before 11 p.m. Saturday, July 11, when his vehicle was struck by a car traveling north in the southbound lane. The driver of the other car, Philip Bergerson, 63, of Two Harbors, died at the scene. A passenger in Cole's vehicle, Sarah Buscher, 19, also of Cloquet, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Cole was in critical condition for several days after the accident at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

There was a vigil for Cole last Friday night at Pinehurst Park in Cloquet. Visitation was Saturday evening, and the funeral was Sunday at Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

And, of course, there was the color run, an unofficial part of the celebration of his life.

Alex Thompson - who graduated with Cole and his brothers from Cloquet High School in 2013 - sent out Facebook invitations to get people to go to the Cloquet Rotary Club-sponsored Color Run and to do it in honor of Cole.

Thompson was thrilled to see the long line of same-day registrants cutting across the woodland park Saturday morning, many of them wearing T-shirts and headbands emblazoned with the name “Cole.” A total of 360 people signed up for this year’s race, exactly double the number of last year’s inaugural event.

“Cole loved color runs and he loved colors,” Thompson said. “Knowing there was a color run this weekend, it was something that Cole would have wanted to do. I (thought) we should all do it to celebrate who he was.”

Rotary volunteer Paul Nordvall said he was part of a group that sent out emails after the accident, asking people to pray for Cole.

“We prayed very hard; we didn’t get what we wanted,” Nordvall said. “He’s in heaven now, but his spirit is here, with the people honoring him.”


The Rotary’s Judy Poss said the race turnout far exceeded expectations.

“We are just so grateful to the community for coming out,” she said, adding that people came from near and far for the run. “We’re novices. We learn each year how to make it better.”

The Cloquet Color Run is more about fun than records. Organized the Rotary Club, racers usually wear white and, as they run, cornstarch colors are showered on them by volunteers manning different color stations along the route. It is not timed and racers can either walk or run.

Perfect for someone like Cole, who Thompson described as “bright and always happy, always smiling.”
“He could make anyone laugh,” she said. “Anyone who knew Cole could tell you that’s who he was every day of his life.”

Cole was also an honor roll student at CHS, involved in theater and other extracurricular activities including Link Crew, and studying to be a physician’s assistant at the College of St. Scholastica.
“He was a big presence, in general,” said Avery Bieri of Cole’s time at CHS. “He did a lot.”

Bieri was wearing a white headband with Cole’s name written across it. Her T-shirt had his name in brightly colored letters from top to bottom, with a different adjective describing her friend next to each letter in an acrostic poem.

C “colorful”

O “original”


L “lovely”

E “energetic”

Other T-shirts proclaimed “We heart Cole,” and “I have an angel watching over me.” Most were written by hand and reflected different individual artistic abilities - all were colorful.

After the race, all those T-shirts were even more colorful.

As racers finished, they could choose from snowcones, water, popcorn and bananas to replenish spent energy.

“Nothing says post-race like a snow cone,” said race emcee Ted Schick.

Cole’s grandmother, Carol Sedor, said it was wonderful to see so many people there in honor of Cole. She commented on how many people were wearing his name, including herself.

“He had so many friends,” she said, while waiting for the family to finish the race. “He touched so many lives.”

His friends and family displayed that legacy Saturday - in full color.

Find Cole Drechsler’s obituary on Page A6 of this week’s Pine Journal.

Related Topics: CLOQUET
What To Read Next
There are also three Cricut 101 classes scheduled.
Moose Lake Community Education and the school science department are working on a project to improve the school forest, and their efforts recently received a grant from the Blandin Foundation.