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Getting ready for the 5K Walk/Run

LAKEFIELD -- With Lakefield's Summerfest nearly two weeks away, people are already signing up for the annual Kids Against Hunger 5K Walk/Run June 25.

The event is one of two fundraisers for the Southwest Minnesota Kids Against Hunger, which last year bagged 122,788 meals for the hungry, which were sent all over the world.

"It's become a community cultural event, and so have both the fundraisers. It's become a part of our culture," said Marless Cuperus, fundraising coordinator for Southwest Minnesota KAH. "It's a way for organizations to come forward and be involved in something that's hands-on."

Last year, 43 runners and 45 walkers participated in the event, many registering the day of the race.

This year, so many people opted to sponsor the event that -- unless the turnout far exceeds 100 -- every participant will receive a prize. Even then, every participant will receive a certificate, and prizes will be given to fastest finishers in each category as well as the fastest finisher with a stroller, fastest with a pooch and oldest finisher.

In addition, prizes will be given to the largest group participating -- so far 15 people is the biggest -- and the largest family participating with multiples, a category likely to be won by a family with three sets of twins.

The route of the race has been the same for the past four years, entirely within Lakefield city limits, and it does not cross any highways. Two water stations will be along the route, and cookies, bananas and water will be available for racers at the end of their trek.

Over the past six years, Kids Against Hunger's local operation has bagged 583,260 meals for the hungry, each costing just 10 to 13 cents.

"I do want to emphasize that is probably the least expensive bagging operation you're going to find," Cuperus said. "... it's all volunteers. There's no paid staff whatsoever. That is why we can do it for 13 cents per meal, because that is strictly the cost of the ingredients."

Registration for the race begins at 7 a.m. June 25, and runners must be registered by 8 a.m. Forms for registration are also available at by clicking on "Summerfest."

Anyone with questions can contact Cuperus at or call her at (507) 662-5254.