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Runners to descend on Lakefront Park Saturday

As many as 2,000 runners are expected to take part in Saturday's Gopher to Badger Half Marathon and 5K, which begins in Minnesota and ends in Hudson's Lakefront Park.

The half marathon kicks off at 8 a.m. in Stillwater with the 5K getting underway at 8:10 a.m. The 5K awards ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Lakefront Park while awards for the half marathon will be presented at 11 a.m.

The run is being organized by Final Stretch Inc. and sponsored by the Bohannon Group of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Hudson. A percentage of the registration fees will go back to the community.

"Our firm has always done a lot with Final Stretch. They sponsor other races in the Twin Cities," said Michael Leverty of the Bohannon Group. "The Gopher to Badger run has never had a platinum sponsor, and Northwestern Mutual is excited to partner with the Gopher to Badger run as a platinum sponsor."

Leverty said that within Northwestern Mutual is the Bohannon Group, which serves the Twin Cities, western Wisconsin and southern Minnesota. He said the Bohannon Group Foundation helps raise money for nonprofits, such as Children's Cancer Research. He said past local projects have helped raise funds for the Hudson High School cross country and Stillwater football teams.

"The goal is to maximize the positive effect it has on Hudson and the surrounding communities," he said about Saturday's event.

He said he also hopes people stick around and enjoy what Hudson has to offer after the race.

"It's a great race but there hadn't been a lot of community involvement with it," he said. "People would come to Hudson and then leave. We're trying to maximize Hudson and Lakefront Park by keeping people here."

Leverty, who plans to run in the 5K, said there will be a big presence from his group on Saturday.

"Bohannon Group runners will all be wearing bright yellow T-shirts," he said.

Race day registration is $30 for the 5K and $40 for the half marathon. Registration begins at 6:20 a.m. at Lakefront Park and buses will begin departing for starting locations in Minnesota at 6:30 a.m. Registration will end at 7:20 a.m. with the last bus leaving at 7:50 a.m.

All finishers will receive a T-shirt, and all half-marathon finishers also receive a runner medal.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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