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Out for a walk . . . The 5K Fun Run/Walk on the new fitness trail
drew 66 registered participants. The trail was dedicated
following the fun run and door prizes were awarded.
By Caroline Downs
Nearly 70 individuals participated in Kenmare’s annual 5K Fun Run and Walk on Saturday, held for the first time at the city’s new Scenic Trail around the Kenmare High School property on the east side of town.
Participants ranged in age from stroller-cruising infants to serious senior walkers. Some individuals jogged the four laps; others enjoyed a leisurely walk on the cool morning.
Jamie Livingston, who helped organize the Fun Run and Walk in past summers, was impressed with the turnout. “We’ve only had about 20 or 30 people participate in the years before,” he said.
The event started four years ago to accompany the Kenmare Rib Rally. Walkers and runners met at the Danish Mill in the city park and followed a route out of town on Ward County Road 2 along the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge. The views were lovely, but sharing the road with traffic was a concern.
This year, competition with traffic was not an issue as everyone strolled, ran or rode the eight foot-wide concrete sidewalk far removed from any vehicles.
Scenic Trail Committee spokesperson Fay Froseth led a trail dedication ceremony after the last walkers completed their laps. “We started in the fall of 2009 with a little group,” she said, naming herself and husband Terry, Tim and Missy Harris, and Arnold and Judy Jordan as the instigators behind a community walking trail. “Groups in the community gave us the $155,000 we needed to get going with this section.”
Froseth listed the donors for the nearly one-mile loop of trail that was finished last fall, including Kenmare Veteran’s Club, the Kenmare Economic Development Corporation, Fund-Itt, Kenmare Park Board, Kenmare Recreation Board and the Kenmare School District.
She also mentioned the committee’s dreams for the next two phases. “Eventually, we’d like to work our way toward South of the Border and loop around toward Pioneer Village,” she said, “and we really want to connect the two schools, especially with the increased amount of traffic in town.”
Kenmare mayor Roger Ness represented the city at the dedication. “This is one of the best assets we have in town,” he said. “Everyone has a safe place to walk, and it’s something we have that helps maintain the quality of life here.”
He described the response to the trail from one longtime resident who initially expressed resistance to the pathway and just last week told Ness he had changed his mind. “He thinks it’s a good idea now, too,” said Ness. “He said he watches people walk up there all the time.”
Ness noted the city wants to emphasize the portion of the trail extending between the elementary and high school buildings. “Our top priority is getting a safe passage from here to the other school,” he said, adding that the route may need to follow some of the quieter residential streets rather than the busy County Road 2.
Fun Run and Walk organizer Melissa Sagness was pleased with the response to the event, which did not charge participants an entry fee. Instead, individuals or families could contribute to the Kenmare Theatre digital projector fund-raising project. A total of $2500 was collected Saturday morning for the theatre.
“I was impressed with how many people came,” Sagness said. “Between being on the walking path and raising money for the theatre, the walk had a purpose.”
Prizes for the event, with participant numbers drawn by enthusiastic volunteers Jacob Livingston and Abbey Kohler, were donated by the Kenmare Association of Commerce. The Kenmare Lions Club contributed iced water and lemonade for everyone involved.
Froseth thanked the crowd for joining in the first official community event held at the Scenic Trail. “Let’s keep using the path,” she said.
Anyone interested in supporting the Scenic Trail Committee’s efforts to build the next phases of the trail is welcome to contact Froseth at 701-385-4502.