COTTAGE GROVE-Over 150 runners and walkers braved cold and wind to finish the Standing Strong 5K. The seventh annual event got underway May 18 at Hamlet Park.
Bronson Stachowiak, 14, won the race in a time of 19:23. Andrea Winghart won the women's division. Winghart is a member of the St. Paul Lions Club and said she came to support the Cottage Grove Lions.
"The temperature doesn't bother me as much as the wind," she said.
The race is organized by Standing Strong, an anti-bullying initiative comprising Cottage Grove and Oltman middle schools and the Cottage Grove Lions Club. Entry fees for the 3.1-mile race are used to pay to send District 833 eighth-graders to anti-bullying "courage retreats," sponsored by the nonprofit Youth Frontiers organization.
Participants included race founder Teresa Willkom, a math teacher at OItman Middle School. The race was followed by a community pledge that was organized by Families Against Bullying. The advocacy group was founded after the suicide of a Cottage Grove teen in November. Cottage Grove country singer Hailey James performed.
Mayor Myron Bailey proclaimed May 18 as Anti-Bullying Day. Sen. Karla Bigham and Rep. Tony Jurgens also attended.