by Dennis Dalman
There will be lots of people sporting leprechaun-green jogging gear when the third annual Pot ‘o’ Gold 5k run takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, at Pine Meadow Elementary School in Sartell.
The event, billed as affordable, healthy family fun, is one of the four annual events in the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series in partnership with the St. Cloud YMCA. This year, Pot ‘o’ Gold’s main sponsor is Country Financial of Sartell.
Participants can register on the morning of the event. The 1k kids’ run will begin at 8:30 a.m. At about 8:45 a.m., the 5k run will start, as well as a two-mile walk. There will be face painting for children and snacks and refreshments for one and all.
“This is an incredible event,” race coordinator Evin Haukos said. “It’s a way for families to be happy and get healthy at an activity they can afford.”
The Pot ‘o’ Gold costs $10 per family, $5 per individual.
“We’re not out to make money; we’re happy if we just break even,” Haukos added. “Pot ‘o’ Gold is a lot of fun because to many it’s like an annual reunion when family and friends see one another, and a lot of them come from out of town.”
The Bernick’s Family Fitness Series, hosted by the YMCA, has been very successful, Haukos noted. Last year, in only its second year, participation increased by 35 percent. There were close to 7,000 participants for the entire four-part series.
The other events in the lineup for this year are the Move ‘n’ Groove 5k run in St. Cloud; the Rock Your Soul Trail Run in Quarry Park; and the Wishbone 5k run at the YMCA on Thanksgiving Day morning. The latter even attracted 4,000 runners last year.
Haukos, who lives in St. Cloud, has always loved organizing races. His mother, Chris Haukos, started the well-known annual Earth Day Race at St. Cloud State University in 2000.
“I was only 11 years old at that time,” Haukos remembered. “And that day I handed out water to the runners. In the Bernick’s events, we have about 150 volunteers handing out water.”
The Pot ‘o’ Gold race will take place even if the weather that day happens to be inclement. It is for walkers, joggers and race-runners only.
Parents are welcome to accompany their children during the kids’ race, and participants for that race can be children up to the age of 12.
Child strollers are allowed at the event, and although pets on leashes can attend, they are discouraged because of safety reasons.
To register for the Pot ‘o’ Gold, go to its website at scymca.org