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Fright flight: City hosts first Boo Dash 5K Fun Run

Princess Leia (Allyson Holte) and Darth Vader (Ashley Brue) used the force to power through brisk autumn weather on Saturday during the Boo Dash 5K Fun Run in Bemidji. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 5
This little monster bundled up to cheer on Princess Leia in the Boo Dash 5K Fun Run at City Park in Bemidji on Saturday. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 5
Forty participants, most in costume, took their positions at the starting line on Saturday afternoon for the first Boo Dash 5K Fun Run at Bemidji’s City Park. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer 3 / 5
Little vampire Aleah Serleth, 9, of Bemidji definitely didn’t suck as she left other racers in the dust halfway through the Boo Dash 5K Fun Run on Saturday in Bemidji’s City Park. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer 4 / 5
Brad Kuzel of Guthrie dashed across the finish line at the leisurely pace of 21 minutes and 55 seconds claiming first place in the first Boo Dash 5K Fun Run at Bemidji’s City Park on Saturday. Crystal Dey | Bemidji Pioneer5 / 5

BEMIDJI — Darth Vader and Spider Man were spotted running through the woods on Saturday in Bemidji – they weren’t alone. The unlikely pair was joined by 38 others, many in costume, for the first Boo Dash 5K Fun Run at City Park.

The City of Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department developed the fun run at the coaxing of citizens.

“We have the Shamrock Shuffle in the spring and Kick Up the Dirt, but some people wanted something less competitive,” said Recreation Coordinator Jamie Jacobson. Adding the Boo Dash in the fall spreads the races out through the year.

Jacobson said an estimated 40 participants were expected, which is exactly how many ventured out on the chilly autumn afternoon. Racers warmed up by running around the Montebello Ski Trail.

Seasoned racer, Aleah Serleth’s pink cheeks contrasted against the grey sky as she passed adults by on the trail in her vampire attire. Serleth, 9 of Bemidji, ran in the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon’s children’s 1K.

Ashley Brue and Allyson Holte ran the course alongside one another as Darth Vader and Princess Laia. Brue isn’t a runner perse but wanted to participate just for fun. Holte has been running for a few years.

A witch wouldn’t need a crystal ball to predict the winner of the race would be a marathon runner. Brad Kuzel of Guthrie took home the first place ribbon with a time of 21 minutes and 55 seconds. Kuzel participates in Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth annually. He participated in the Boo Dash as part of his conditioning for the upcoming cross country skiing season.

“It’s nice to run along the trails,” Kuzel said. “This is great weather.”

Second place went to Marissa Carlson who crossed the finish at 22 minutes and 31 seconds. Melanie Hevel-Olson placed third with 23 minutes and 26 seconds.

About a dozen people popped in and out of warm cars to cheer on their friends and family.

“It will probably draw a bigger crowd next year,” Jacobson said.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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