Friends Of Don Sather



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The year of the Pandemic.  We could not host our fund-raising event, but our sponsors still continued to support us.  We were still able to donate to the MN ALS org and award $5,000 in scholarships to McGregor High School students.

This was the first year we didn't have our 5K run/walk.  Seems most of Don's friends are getting beyond their desire to excercise beyond their limits.  The annual event was held at Bann's where a large gathering of Don's friends mingled and played games.  This was a very successful event, and changed the ccourse for our future events.  It was literally a reunion of Don's friends, where many Don stories where told, including Bruce Miller's rendition of Don's favorite joke; Ole and Swen playing 21 questions.  That joke alone is worth the trip.  We also had many great prizes and live aution items.

This year we decided to scrap the 5K and replace it with walk around Loon Lake, with several informative locations as you walked the route.  We learned how to build a fire, tree identification, kayak lessons, etc.  The meal and prizes were again held at Banns, where a large turnout made our event a great financial success.

This year's event was one of the most successful yet.  About 150 people participated in the 5K and it was a top 10 weather day.  The bugs were non-existent, the sun shone brighly, temps were perfect for running and watching and the maples provided for some nice colors and beautiful scenery.  Another great meal was provided at Bann's.  Door Prizes were aplenty, and we sold over $1,000 of split-the-pot tickets.  Jeff Sather won a stay at the Black Bear Casino and Bruce Miller won over $500, which he generously donated most of it back to ALS.  We are 10 years into this event, and our sponsors keep providing their support.  We have many sponors who have given every year, and this year the Minewawa Sportsman's Club donated a whopping $2,000.  

Thsi year marks another first for the 5K.  Jeanne Carr, typically wins the women's division, but this year was our overall winner - congratulations Jeanne.  Bob Staska never seems to slow down.  He won the men's division of 21+, even though he's more than a couple years North of 21.  Keep it going Bob.

We also had a few very young contentants, including Dylan Sather, who was running neck & neck with his dad, Jeff.  Dad won out at the end - Dad, why do you have to be so competitive?

Thanks again to all our sponsors, volunteers, participants, friends and familty.  This was truely one of the best days yet.

If you couldn't make it, you missed out on the closing ceremony.  Don's favorite was told by Bruce Miller, as no one else can tell it.  Make it next year to hear the "Oly and Swen 21 Questions" joke.

Another change was made this year.  Rather than the usual July run, we held it in September.  This made for a more scenic run, a better climate for running and easier on the bugs.  The weather again cooperated. Paul Schonfield was the overall male winner, while 
Jeannie Carr repeated as the female winner. 

We returned our 5K event back to Savanna State Park.  
As usual, the weather cooperated to make this another successful event.  Congratulations to Doug Pottinger and Jeannie Carr, the overall male and female winners.
We celebrated Don's birthday at Bann's Bar & Restuarant, following the run/walk.  The turnout was excellent, and the stories and memories even better.  Thanks to all the participants, volunteers andsponsors again this year.  After 7 years of this event, our sponsor list continues to grow, which has enabled us to continue to provide scholarships to several McGregor High students, contribute to the ALS foundation, as well as build our base to make the scholarships a self-sustaining perpetual scholarship in memory of Don.

This was also the year of the worldwide "bucket challenge".  We joined the band wagon and had our own bucked challenge on a float in the McGregor Wild Rice Festival.  This helped to raise nearly $2,000 for ALS, and we had a good time with it.  

The 2013 5K was held in conjunction with the McGregor All-Class Reunion at the McGregor High School Track.   The day started out a little shaky, with overcast skies and an ever present threat of rain.  Luckily, the rain held off and the  participants were treated to great running conditions.  The new course featured an extremely flat surface, which was a relief to many.  But, many missed the scenery and ambiance of our Savanna State Park course.  We also had a Vintage Mercury Attire competition, and the hands down winner was Billy Koerber who killed it with his short shorts and fro hair.  Check the Photos and see if you agree.

Every year seems to pose a new and unique challenge.  This year it was Mother Nature that threw us a curve ball.  With Big Sandy Lake and several other local lakes at near record levels, many are unable to use their lake homes, while others contend with cleanup and rebuilding.  This lead to a slight decline in our numbers, but 141 registered  participants were treated to great weather and even better fun and comradery.   
This year we introduced age brackets for the kids; 10 & Under, and 11-15.  This added some excitement for the youth.  A highlight of the run was 6 year old Wyatt Graff who completed the entire 5K run.  Great job Wyatt!
This race will be remembered as the race that almost wasn't, due to the State of MN shutdown. The park was technically closed, so we had to alter the plans a bit, but thanks to the volunteers for scrambling at the last minute, the race went on and was very successful, with the largest turnout yet - 188 participants. The post-race activities included the unveiling of a new display case showcasing a photo of Don with his 1980 Bann's Softball Team. This is on display at Bann's Barr and Resturant. Thanks to Mark Bohn for the wonderful craftsmanship.

The 3rd annual FODS 5k was again held at the scenic Savanna State Park.  Again a strong showing of 180 runners and walkers were present and the weather was great (thanks for looking our for us Don!).  This year the course was modified to start at the main parking lot and going to the Loon Lake picnic area and back.   This was thought to be a good idea, so we didn't have to finish the race on "heartbreak hill".  When a race starts and finishes in the same spot, the hills should even out, but somehow it never feels that way.

The 2nd annual FODS 5K was held without our FRIEND in person, but definitely in spirit. This race course was entirely within the Savanna State Park, near the doorstep of Don's home.  The race course went from the Loon Lake swimming and picnic area to the Park Headquarters and back. This event drew 180 participants and featured some creative walkers. Good job friends. Let's continue to be creative, have fun and remember our FRIEND.

The 1st annual Friends of Don 5K was held in 2008. This was, and forever, will be remembered as "thee race", because Don was able attend and see the community support for him and his cause. Don was there to greet all the race finishers, and everyone was met with a smile. He was tired by the end, but he wanted to make sure he was there to greet every runner and walker that was there for him. The event drew 175 participants and raised a record (to this date) amount of money toward our cause. The 5K race course went from the Remote Lake Parking Lot to the Savanna Start Park headquarters and back.

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