CHISHOLM — Breathtaking views — along with perhaps a bit of catching one’s breath — is anticipated for the Range’s first-time Renegade Trail Run set for Sept. 11.

The United Way of Northeastern Minnesota’s newest fundraising event, which will benefit its United for Veterans program, will traverse the hilly, red-dirt trails of the Redhead Mountain Bike Trail in Chisholm.

Participants will have the option of running a 5K (a little more than 3 miles) or a 25K (15.53 miles).

“Trail runs are increasing in popularity across the Midwest,” said Elizabeth Kelly, UWNEMN resource development and events director. “We are excited to be one of the first groups out there to do a world-class trail run in our backyard.”

The Redhead MTB Trail, which encircles a former mine pit near the Minnesota Discovery Center, offers spectacular scenery, said UWNEMN Executive Director Erin Shay, who has hiked the trails with her family. The park opened last summer to off-road cyclists and is an “absolutely beautiful” place to walk and hike, as well, she said.

Shay said the United Way is happy to offer a new type of event to the community — and to raise money for its program that assists area veterans, connecting them with resources, providing crisis assistance, and hosting gatherings for veterans and their families. There were no big fundraising events for United for Veterans last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running the trail will be a different experience for those accustomed to flat roads, Shay noted. But the shorter tail run is open to all ages and a variety of abilities. The youngest registrant so far is 8 years old.

There will be several waves throughout the day, with the last 5K wave at 10:30 a.m. held specifically for those who want to walk.

The 25K participants will have the opportunity to run the entire rim of the pit, Kelly said.

Those designing the Renegade course are being “mindful about safety,” Shay added.

Registration is currently open for the event. Those who sign up through Sept. 1 will receive discounted rates of $55 for the 25K; $35 for adults and $20 for youth for the 5K. Rates increase by $5 after Sept. 1.

Packet pickup will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 10, and again starting at 7 a.m. Sept. 11. The 25K begins at 8 a.m., followed by the first 5K wave at 8:30 a.m.

An awards ceremony is set for noon, with prizes for the top male and female in each age category. There will also be refreshments and food trucks, including fare served by the Minnesota Discovery Center’s The Rustic Pig restaurant.

Shay said the UWNEMN is looking forward to holding an event focused on outdoor physical activity, especially because physical fitness is important to veterans.

The nonprofit recently added a Veterans Wellness Passport component to United for Veterans. The program focuses on improving physical and mental health and wellbeing for local veterans. Monthly activities are held, such as a recent kayaking trip.

A golfing outing is planned for August, and a guided hike this fall.

United for Veterans holds an annual women’s retreat and is looking into a new program for male veterans. The UWNEMN, in partnership with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV), also has a transitional home in Hibbing for veterans who are experiencing homelessness.

Kelly said the United Way is still seeking volunteers for the Renegade Trail Run to assist with packet pickup and registration, course set up and water stations.

“We are really excited about it,” she said. The trail run will be one of the first large events held at the Redhead MTB Trail. “We are excited for people to get out on the tail and explore the beauty of the Iron Range.”


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