By Mallory Clark, Assistant Program Manager

Last fall Brandon Eddy, RN and I were brainstorming creative ways for people to exercise and have fun at the same time. We came up with the idea of encouraging the individuals we serve to challenge themselves and participate in a 5K. As we searched the internet, Brandon found Randy’s Run. This race looked perfect…It was right in Eden Prairie and was even a way for our group to help out a local cause. The big trick though was trying to generate motivation, especially when the individuals at Lake Place had probably never even thought of participating in a 5K.

photo 1I needed help from all angles! So, I sent out an email to all the parents explaining the idea Brandon and I had. We asked if they would be interested in participating in a 5K as well as meeting weekly for a walking group to prepare for this race. I had tremendous feedback. Parents jumped right on board and we met every Saturday to walk for at least an hour. As the months went on, we increased our distance. The progress was pretty miraculous to see. In the beginning, individuals at Lake Place would say: “How long are we walking for? When can we stop?” Towards the end we were walking for more than an hour with less and less second guessing. The best part about the walking groups was that everyone came together and had a great time with healthy living (our underlying, driving force).

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On Monday May 26th, Memorial Day, Lake Place came strong with 29 people ready to start walking for Randy’s Run! There was a lot of energy and excitement. People ran more than I have ever seen them run. This race was not about time but about finishing and pushing through when it felt tough. We all finished at staggered times, but everyone stuck around to cheer the others across that finish line. Many were tired/exhausted as they finished; however, no one had a frown on their face. Everyone was so proud of what they had accomplished. As one lady from Lake Place crossed the line and was having some water, she lied down on the grass reciting to herself “I did it, I actually did it!”

After such a fantastic race we replenished our bodies with a well deserved BBQ. This experience was one of the most memorable days I have had at Lake Place, and I think it is true for others. That night after the BBQ, I received an email from a parent stating: “Randy’s Run was the perfect way to start the day. The picnic was fabulous. We really can’t remember when we have had a better time connecting with the residents and their families.”

This was such a success that there is talk of doing it again next year!

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