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New 5K race gets glowing reviews

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Even Mother Nature joined in Cloquet’s first “Light Up the Night” 5K Run/Walk, brightening the sky with far-away lightning while walkers and runners found other ways to make themselves glow in the dark.

Over 260 runners and walkers took to the streets to “light up the night,” said Sarah Kulig, race director and a music teacher at Washington Elementary School, where the race began and ended.

Kulig ran in a glow run in Duluth a couple of summers ago with a coworker, she said.

“We thought, ‘How awesome would this be to bring to Cloquet?’” Kulig said, pointing out that the elementary school has a lot of families who live within a one-mile radius of the building. “Plus we thought it would be a perfect way to kick off the school year, or end the summer with a bang.”

Glow items were provided in the race bags but organizers encouraged people to come ready to “show your glow.”

And glow they did. There were the usual glow necklaces, along with rings, socks, glow-in-the-dark paint, and even glowing hair extensions, a sort of Medusa-meets-Thomas-Edison look. A lot of people also came dressed in bright neon colors, Kulig added, noting that there were contests in three categories: “Best Glow,” “Most Neon,” and “Best Team Costume.”

The turnout was excellent, despite the threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Kulig said close to 70 more people registered on the day of the race, bringing the numbers up over 250 for the non-competitive event, which was a fundraiser for enrichment opportunities at Washington. She figured they raised over $4,000 for activities including the school’s gifted-and-talented programs, Backpack Buddy program, Junior Great Books and more.

“I think the fact that this was a very family friendly event helped in its popularity,” Kulig said, noting that 5K races (equivalent to 3.2 miles) are becoming one of the most popular distances in the racing world because that distance is very attainable. “We catered to young and old and we had a tremendous amount of families participating together. As I said earlier, it was a nice way to kick off the school year and get everyone excited to come back! And everyone loves glow stuff!”

She ended with a smile, noting that she’s already thinking of ways to make next year’s event even bigger and brighter — with or without Mother Nature’s help.

For more information or to see photos from the evening, visit the race website at