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Kids’1K race is a family event

The 1K Kids Run at the Beardsley draws 125-200 kids to run the course. SUBMITTED PHOTO

One event at the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon and 5K that’s got the littlest of legs moving — and there are a lot of them — is the 1K Kid’s Run.

Depending on the year, race organizer Kim Bettcher said there are 125-200 kids participating in the race.

“We have siblings that will run together. It becomes a family event,” she said of the moms and dads who push the stroller with one kid and another is running beside.

“Oftentimes we’ll see parents crossing the finish line, running with their kids. Maybe the parents had just finished their half marathon and they still have their bid numbers on and then run through with their kids. It’s fun.”              

One family that’s been involved for at least 10 years is the Jackie and Nathan Weber family of Detroit Lakes. Jackie said their oldest child, Blake, started running the race about 10 years ago because Nathan is a runner and their son wanted to participate, too.

“My husband is a runner, and that year I assume he decided to run the 5K, so we brought our youngest one out there,” Weber said is how they first got involved. “And ever since then, as we’ve had kids, the littlest one ends up in the stroller, and mom is pushing and kids holding hands running next to you.”

Blake, who is now 12, decided a couple years ago that he wanted to try the 5K, so he advanced to the bigger race, while the younger kids still participate in the 1K. The event has turned Blake into a runner, and he has joined the cross country team, too.

“He developed a love of running,” she said.

Weber said that the kids get excited and nervous just like any other runner would, but truly enjoy being a part of the race.

The Kid’s Run starts at the City Park parking lot entrance, and kids run the horseshoe parking lot, ending the race at the half marathon/5K finish line like the adult runners.

“They think it’s fantastic that they get to cross and finish at the same place where their mom or dad finished,” Weber said of watching the kids run. “It’s cool to run through the chute and see people cheering on the sidelines.”

Weber said her son has to help at a water stand along the route this year as a part of the cross country team, and he’s kind of bummed not to run in the race. But it’s just one more aspect of the race where the Weber family is getting involved.

Kids who participate in the Kid’s Run — which costs $7 per child — will receive a T-shirt and medal for running.

The Kid’s Race begins at 11 a.m., so majority of the 5K and half marathon racers have already crossed the finish line by then.

Bettcher said that the Kid’s Race has been going on at least a dozen years.

“Dick Beardsley always starts the Kid’s Run, and sometimes he’s actually been able to run it with them. He always starts it though. He talks to the kids and gets them fired up, and then he runs over to the finish line and cheers them on as they cross,” she said.

Bettcher said there is no age limit on the Kid’s Run, but usually when kids get to be about 11, they switch to the 5K.

“We encourage anybody who wants to come out,” she said. “It’s just a fun thing to do. And then afterwards, the kids can head over and have some ice cream from Cass Clay.”