HIBBING — For six years, the Red Ore Run took its participants through North Hibbing and past the mine view stand.
Last year, the course was altered because the mine view ceased to exist.
This year, there’s a brand-new course and a brand-new race name awaiting the runners when the Kids Kare 5K gets underway at 8 a.m., at the Hibbing Memorial Arena parking lot.
Brian St. George, who is the race director of the event, had to accommodate for the mine closure last year and for the extinction of the 10K race that was a part of the event.
“The course did change a little bit, so we made some tweaks to it and canned the 10K,” St. George said. “We tried to keep it at the park, but with the whole rebranding and the name change, we had to make it more of a tie-in toward the fund.
“People weren’t making the connection between the Red Ore Run and the Kids Kare Fund. They were the beneficiaries of the event. We’re losing the Red Ore Run because we wanted to make things more recognizable with the Kids Kare Fund.”
The committee toyed with the idea of moving it to the Memorial Building last year, but this year, that decision was a no-brainer.
“That was thrown out, but it became a finality this spring,” St. George said. “We started with meetings in January and February, over the winter and spring, and we made the plan to take it to this extent this year.”
The move will make it easier for the runners and spectators.
“Part of it was we’ve had a congestion issue with parking,” St. George said. “We’ll have half of a parking lot at the start and finish lines. They can park there right up to the event.
“We’ve also had packet pick up in the lobby of the Memorial Building, so it made sense to put it in one place, not using the arena to start and finish the race. We’re still outside, which replicates the big-open space like we had in Bennett Park.”
St. George said he and Dan Pullar sat down and looked at 15 variations for the course.
It came down to showcasing Howard Street the most.
“We’re utilizing Howard Street,” St. George said. “Logistically, for us, that worked out for the city, so people can get across town. We wanted a nice, scenic route for people to run.”
The starting line is on 23rd St., heading down past the high school to 11th Ave., where the runners will take a left turn, then head toward Howard St. From Howard Street, they will run to 2nd Ave. W., then turn south and run to 32nd St..
Two left turns puts them on First Avenue, then down to 24th St., with the finish line on the south side of the memorial arena.
St. George, who is a runner himself, likes the course layout.
“It’s going to be fast, definitely,” he said. “We had that traditional climb at the Red Ore Run, which was challenging and scenic, but here, we won’t have any complaints about hills. It’s as flat as a pancake.
“We’re hoping to see some good times. We’re hoping people enjoy a flat course with not a lot of turns. There’s a lot of straight-aways.”
But the main purpose of the race is supporting the Kids Kare Fund.
“That’s the focus of it,” St. George said. “The Red Ore Run was a good, quality race. There was a lot of upper-echelon things about it, but what was lost was that the people didn’t realize it was benefitting the Kids Kare Fund. That’s what we want the people to understand about it.
“We still have the same features in this race. It’s the same event with a new course. We want people to come out and set a new PR and new course records.”
There will be a 1K race for the kids, which is free. The first 75 kids to sign up will be given a free superhero cape. The slogan of the race is, ‘Be a hero.’
Online registration for the Kids Kare 5K will close today at 8 p.m. Registration and packet pick up will be held Friday from 3 to 7 p.m., at the Memorial Building, and Saturday morning before the race. The fee is $30.