Up North: Mesabi East Students Brave the Cold in Annual Mitten Run

November 21, 2017 10:22 PM

Running a full mile in the winter doesn't phase the students at Mesabi East Elementary School.

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It is actually a tradition. Every year before Thanksgiving students in grades first through sixth run a loop around the school's campus led by the high school cross country team.

"It was a little slippery and there was win blowing, but I feel like everyone did pretty good," said Mesabi East seventh grader Carter Skelton.

"We like to participate because it's just fun to get out with all the elementary kids and get active. Enjoy the outdoors, brave the cold, and encourage everyone to stay active in the winter time," added Mesabi East senior Ben Brunfelt.

It's called the Mitten Run. The annual run began 22 years ago by former Mesabi East teacher Linda Donnelly.

"You get in northern Minnesota and once the winter comes, everyone seems to go inside," said Donnelly. "We thought we need to get these kids playing, running, and outside. We needed to do something with them without having to just sit all winter."

Now retired, Donnelly takes a backseat to the planning, but is still around to support the kids running.

"Linda is just so great. She had it going for so long, so what a better way to honor her than to keep it going," said one of the new organizers of the Mitten Run David Hillman.

Hillman added that they plan to potentially change the course beginning next year. The idea is to keep the start at Memorial Gym, but have the run finish inside their newly built athletic complex.



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