More than a Race: Fitger's 5K participant shares journey of transformation

Emily Ness
Updated: April 17, 2021 10:41 PM
Created: April 17, 2021 05:30 PM

Monica Abraham of Backus, Minnesota never imagined she would run a race like the Fitger's 5K. But, as it turns out, running transformed not only her life, but also, the life of a perfect stranger.

“I used to be very unhealthy and I decided to make a change,” Abraham said.

This change came after Abraham learned that she could donate an organ, while still living her own life to the fullest and felt called to do so.

“I donated my right kidney in October of 2019 to a stranger,” Abraham said. “I don't think I would have had the opportunity to be a living donor if I hadn't been a runner who was living a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Fast forward to 2021 and Abraham was one of 900 runners beaming with energy at the 32nd annual Fitger’s 5K Saturday.

"I am so grateful to be here today," Abraham said.

Zach Schneider, Marketing & Public Relations Director for Grandma’s Marathon, said the race was made possible this year by a modified course and a staggered start.

“We're excited next year, to be back closer to our original course on Superior Street in Downtown Duluth,” Schneider said. “But in the meantime, a modified course on the Lakewalk on a beautiful Saturday morning is not too shabby.”

Schneider said the 5K is the largest event they have hosted since the start on the pandemic. He believes it is great practice for Grandma’s Marathon, which is scheduled to take place in two months.

“For us, it’s getting closer to a true practice event. It’s our last event before the marathon and for the staff, it’s a pretty important one because we get to test out some of the techniques that we are going to be using in June,” Schneider said.

In addition to the 900 people who ran in person this year, the Fitger’s 5K also had 200 people sign up to run the race virtually.

Abraham said it was encouraging to be back out with a community of runners and encourages anyone who would like to take up running to give it a shot.

“I don't run because of how I feel when I run. I run for how I feel after,” Abraham said. “It’s doing something hard that you thought you couldn't do and then realizing that you really can.”


Emily Ness

Copyright 2021 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

New owner needed for lighthouse in Duluth

Life House celebrates 30 years of service

Cirrus plane involved in mid-air crash

Get creative for the annual Bookmark Design Contest

Walz, legislative leaders remain "hopeful" to pass police reform

Experts don't anticipate a gas shortage in the midwest, advise people not to panic buy