Running to Support Families Battling Cancer
Nearly a thousand runners hit the trails and streets around Owatonna Saturday, raising thousands of dollars to support five local families in their journey with cancer. The fundraising began Friday with a very successful first-ever live auction along with a silent auction and meal. The live auction collected about $5,000 with concert and Vikings' tickets and a week-long stay at an Arizona home among the highlights.
Saturday, runners of all ages and abilities covered a 5K, 10K, half marathon and kids' fun run. The money will benefit the families of Tanya Powell, Jim Gleason, Brian Wencl, Heidi Smith and Joe Wagoner.
Members of law enforcement were present throughout the course controlling intersections for the runners. The local bicycle club led the runners and cruised around to check on participants. School groups ran water stations including OHS boys' golf, softball and the Rebel Alliance robotics team, among many others.
This was the tenth anniversary event. Organizer Beth Svenby said they don't usually help five families at once, so she was happy to see the turnout both Friday and Saturday and the success of the live auction.
Among the nice moments was benefactor Brian Wencl giving a medal to his son Trase who ran the 5K and won his age category. Brian said it was the first time Trase had run such an event. Heidi Smith is related to Twin Cities radio announcer and Minnesota Vikings' radio network studio host Mike Mussman. He was the emcee for Friday night's activities at the middle school. Jim Gleason's contingent included a number of runners.
Many previous From the Heart recipients volunteered during the two-day event. KRFO's Roy Koenig acted as the auctioneer on Friday. Beautiful weather greeted the runners Saturday with starting temperatures in the low to mid 50's.