Running with the animals at Spirit Valley DaysHave you ever wondered what it is like to run alongside a lion? Sign up for the fourth annual “Run Like an Animal” 5K Run/Walk at the Lake Superior Zoo and find out.
By: Sarah Alabsi, Duluth Budgeteer News
Have you ever wondered what it is like to run alongside a lion? Sign up for the fourth annual “Run Like an Animal” 5K Run/Walk at the Lake Superior Zoo and find out. Along with nature trails to run on, parts of the zoo will be on the race route.
“It’s really cool to be able to run past the animal exhibits,” said Lake Superior Zoo’s Keely Johnson. “Our lion exhibits get really excited.” Johnson said runners need not worry. The lions, which are in their exhibits, perk up because they are curious. While the animals are used to people walking by, they don’t see too many people actually run. Johnson said the lions “do a lot of lying around” and the 5K gets them up. The two female lions will walk up to the glass to watch the 5K participants, while the male will stand up, like cats watching someone walk outside of a window.
The 5-kilometer trail run utilizes part of the public trails adjacent to the zoo as well as some of the exhibits, said Lake Superior Zoo’s director of marketing Kim Matteen.
“It’s open to everybody. There’s a walking option so families are encouraged to participate, as well as more competitive runners,” said Johnson.
The idea for the 5K event came from a need for fundraising. The zoo wanted to do an event to reach a different audience, said Johnson.
“The Lake Superior Zoo is a nonprofit with the mission to support the conservation efforts and improve visitor experience,” said Matteen.
If runners aren’t available the day of the race or would rather support the zoo another way, there will be a “Virtual Course” option. This allows runners to sign up and run the 5-kilometer race anywhere and anytime between July 27 and Aug. 3.
“You make your donation, you can print out your running bib, and then run whenever or wherever you want,” said Matteen. “We had around 40 Virtual Course runners last year.”
There will be first-, second- and third place prizes awarded to runners along with a best costume prize. Staff will decide which costume deserves the prize, so costumes are encouraged, said Matteen.
“We’ll have a tortoise and rabbit at the end of the race as well as other animals for people to see,” said Johnson. “Tortoise and Hare Footwear will even be sponsoring the event.”
If you go
Who: Runners, family, open to the public
What: Run Like an Animal 5K Run/Walk
Where: Lake Superior Zoo, 7210 Fremont Street, Duluth
When: Saturday, Aug. 3. Registration 7 a.m., run/walk begins 8:30 a.m.
Cost: $30 in advance, $35 race day. Members, $25 and $30.