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Published June 13 2011

Wagner: Running a good way to celebrate Independence Day

One of the best parts of attending a race is standing at the starting line, and singing along with our national anthem.

This sing-along habit started long before I was a runner, and harkens back to the days of playing American Legion baseball.

But it remains one of my favorite memories since it serves as a good time to think about all the reasons I have to be thankful. As a runner, the list is long.

Through the sport, I’ve learned a lot about life and myself, and the freedom our sport gives us is reason enough to be thankful.

To me, running represents freedom, independence and a form of self-expression.

And that’s why one of my favorite events each year is whatever Fourth of July race I find myself at.

My first July 4 race was the annual Minnesota State University Moorhead race, where I donned a star-spangled bandanna. This year, the event offers the traditional 10K run, along with a 5K run/walk and the youth firecracker trot.

“Running the MSUM 4th of July Race is a great way to celebrate one of America’s most fun holidays,” says Sue Knutson, the event organizer. “There is something for everyone in the family.”

The courses go through campus this year, “highlighting the beauty of MSUM’s mall area,” Knutson says.

The race, three weeks from today, draws hundreds of runners, and it’s a great way to share your love of running with others on the holiday celebrating our nation’s independence.

For more information about the race and other MSUM Fourth of July events, go online to www.mnstate.edu/july4/events.

If you’re heading out of town, there are some other “firecracker” races to check out:

The annual “Firecracker Footrace” in Park Rapids, Minn., features both 5K and 10K events, and draws hundreds every year.

The “City on the Bay 10K” in Walker, Minn., is part of the town’s terrific July Fourth celebration, which features an impressive event schedule and a terrific night-time fireworks display.

In addition, Grand Forks will host its “Firecracker 4th of July” race.

For links to the above races, visit my blog and click on the “Toe the Line” link.

Inforum searchword: running

Forum News Director Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@forumcomm.com.