It was the perfect day for a run – especially one that comes from the heart.

The annual From the Heart Run/Walk returned to Lake Kohlmier on Saturday after taking a year off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That marked the first year the event had been canceled. In previous years, racers had participated in a variety of weather ranging from rain to blizzards and everything in between.

This year, however, the day was made for a run with blue skies and a breeze to keep runners cool throughout the trail. While the crowd size was significantly reduced from its typical hundreds of participants, additional people registered to take part in the event’s first-time virtual option.

“We had talked originally about maybe not being able to have the race again this year, but there were so many emails and phone calls from the community of people asking us to have it so they could look forward to something,” said Beth Svenby, founder and committee member for the event, in March following the announcement of the return of the race. “With the vaccines rolling out we felt a lot more comfortable moving forward, and with this combination of in-person and virtual people can do whatever they are most comfortable with.”

Banners along the race route were set up throughout the morning to allow the opportunity for people to run the route without the crowd.

The From the Heart event provides financial and emotional support to families battling cancer. This year, Svenby said the committee elected to have proceeds from the race go toward the Oncology Department at the Mayo Clinic Healthy System in Owatonna.

Despite the canceled event in 2020, financial gifts were still made to the 2020 recipient families.

In previous years, From the Heart has provided more than $600,000 of financial support for the families of Lisa Hilstad, Steve Nelson, Tyler Harlicker, Nacia Olson, Gabriella Velasquez, Kyle DeKam, Samantha Nachanicky, Christine Deming-Davis, Susan Hrty, Candy Anderson, Juana Villarreal, Bill Reuter, John Berning, Jean Borgman, Rodney Earlywine, Pete Kalan, Paul Grannes, Tracy Williams, Julie Bauer, Don Hettinga, Royetta Spurgeon, Marcy Fenske, Terri Grose, Nick Larson, Matt Ratzloff, Brian Wencl, Tanya Powell, Heidi Smith, Joe Wagoner, Jim Gleason, Dawn Armstrong, Chris Utoft, Monica Kruschke, Cheryl Bastyr, Mark Woodrich, Jon Osmundson, and Nova Maas.

Reach Reporter Annie Granlund at 507-444-2378 or follow her on Twitter @AnnieGranlund. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.

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