Get It Dunn Run Attracts Visitors, Record-Seekers to Dunn County

Lauren Fisher

SHE DUNN IT.  Nichole Porath broke her own world record for the fastest women’s half marathon with a double stroller at the 2018 Get it Dunn Run in Menomonie.
SHE DUNN IT. Nichole Porath broke her own world record for the fastest women’s half marathon with a double stroller at the 2018 Get it Dunn Run in Menomonie.

Runners come from far and wide to set records – personal and even worldwide – at the annual Get it Done Run in Menomonie.  This 5k and half marathon is flat, fast, and certified for a number of purposes, including qualifying for nationally known full marathons and Guinness Book world record challenges.  This year, participants will take their mark Saturday, May 11 near the intersection of 9th Ave E and 6th St E.

“Everyone goes away form it feeling good, whether they’re a volunteer or a participant.” –Karen McCalla, Get it Dunn Run Organizer

Karen McCalla and Janelle Jordan founded the Get it Dunn Run to support Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.) a charity organization they started in memory of McCalla’s late mother, Kathleen Fisher, that furnishes children from all over the Midwest with “camperships,” allowing them to attend summer camps.  M.O.M. provides more than $10,000 a year in these camperships and in scholarships for graduating high school students, in great part thanks to registration fees from the marathon.

“One of the best things about this event for me is that it’s an awesome thing for our entire family,” McCalla said.  They’re all involved in the planning process, and together they wake up early on race day to set the event in motion.

It’s no small feat.  More than 600 people participated in the marathon or 5k last year, and McCalla expects even more in 2019.  Runners get live, on-site time results, and upon completion of their race, they can celebrate together in the parking lot at Burger King (544 Main St E, Menomonie), where there’s live music, face-painting, climbing walls, and more.  The run also partners with local bars and restaurants to offer specials for participants.

The event has brought world-wide recognition to Menomonie, with participants travelling from all over the United States as well as Canada and Mexico to run.  One year, a soldier serving in Germany participated remotely by running the half marathon distance at the same time, posting pictures of the castles he passed along the way.  McCalla and Jordan sent him his t-shirt and participation medal in the mail.  McCalla has sometimes heard the Get it Dunn Run referred to as the Menomonie Marathon, she said.

This year, one runner will take a stab at busting into the Guinness Book of World Records by beating the world’s best time for a man pushing a double stroller in a half marathon.  Jeff Lanners of St. Paul, Minnesota will have to finish the course in just shy of an hour and 18 minutes with his two daughters in the stroller to take the title.  He’s following the lead of Nichole Porath, who took the same record in the women’s category at the Get it Dunn Run in 2017.  She returned in 2018 to beat her own record by more than five minutes with a time of 1:31:31.

Nichole Porath and Co.
Nichole Porath and Co.

Porath has been helping Lanners prepare for the event for months, coaching him in good training techniques and encouraging him to push for better and better times.  When they first met, his half marathon time was more than three hours, but he remembers Porath telling him “you’re faster than this,” and he eventually came to realize it himself.

Lanners, whose family is from Star Prairie, enjoys returning to Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley frequently.  He loves the country, he loves the river, and he loves the marathon’s flat, quick track.  “It’s like being home,” he said.

“The family feel of the race keeps us coming back,” Porath said.  She says she feels a personal connection with McCalla, the other organizers, with the runners, and the community.  “It’s a really special event.”  She won’t make a play to beat the women’s record again unless someone takes it from her, but she loves the balance the Get it Dunn Run strikes between recreation and competition.  Even when she puts in her all, there are other racers keeping pace, lending a sense of purpose to each run.

Porath and Lanners both plan to spend the entire marathon weekend in the Chippewa Valley, checking out the local scene with their families once they’ve “Got it Dunn.”  According to McCalla, many visiting runners enjoy stays at local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and otherwise engage with Menomonie and surrounding communities, adding to the social and economic impact of the race beyond the fundraising element.

“I also just think it’s a really good thing for the community, because it’s a really healthy, positive-energy type event,” McCalla said.  “You’re getting together to exercise, but you’re also getting together with people … everyone goes away form it feeling good, whether they’re a volunteer or a participant.”

More information about the Get It Dunn Run, including registration and the day schedule, visit getitdunnrun.com