I am extremely excited to move forward as the new race director for the CentraCare Earth Day Run, Central Minnesota’s premier running event. Over the years, the Earth Day Run has grown thanks to the wonderful participants, leaders and sponsors. It has been an event that has helped unite the Central Minnesota community and brought about positive change for health and wellness! It is truly a privilege to join the CentraCare Wellness team and their efforts around this event.
My involvement in the racing world began at a very young age. I grew up in a family that was passionate about planning and managing running events. As a child, I spent weekends at countless events, cheering people on, handing out water, setting up bike racks and pitching in where needed.
Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with the world of racing. The athlete community breeds passion, energy, respect and encouragement, which allows for individuals to further themselves in incredible ways. Among this community, I have found myself at home.
In 1998, my amazing mom, Chris Haukos, and the team at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Fitness saw a need in the community for a large-scale event in Central Minnesota that promoted health, fitness and sustainability. They created the Earth Day Run and the community caught on. Ever since, Earth Day Weekend has become a proud piece of the Central Minnesota culture. In my own eyes, it was great to watch this event evolve over the years. I loved the expo and participating in the 1K run, arts and activities. As I grew, I worked as a course and setup volunteer for many years.
In college, I became very involved with swimming and running and competed in Minnesota-area triathlons. I studied recreation sports management at SCSU and became very involved with event planning across campus. Three years ago, longing for more involvement in the race planning world, I reached out to Graniteman Events, a company responsible for planning a series of Central Minnesota triathlons and running events — including the Mudman Obstacle 5K. I was hired on as the assistant race director/volunteer manager for their portfolio of events, and through this great experience my knowledge in event management has grown substantially.
In December, I accepted the position as the community wellness events specialist, a joint position between CentraCare Health and the YMCA. This position includes race director duties for both the Bernick’s Family Series Events and the Earth Day Run. It’s great to see how the Earth Day Run has come full circle from the days when my mom started this event to now, when I can get moving on this project!
The CentraCare team, along with all our amazing sponsors, have provided so much room for this event to grow and impact the health and wellness of this community for years to come. It’s an honor to be serving with the CentraCare Wellness team, and I know working alongside them and this community, we can continue to make the Earth Day Run Weekend among the best Central Minnesota has to offer. Hope to see you on race day!
Community Wellness Events Specialist
CentraCare Health Foundation/St. Cloud YMCA