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Racers raise $2,500 for Angel Tree

Chuck Eilts said he didn't want to run around Lake Mitchell for nothing, and it seems he did not. Last week, Eilts and some close friends held a walk/run/ride to raise money for Angel Tree. On Wednesday, Eilts said the event--dubbed Operation Ang...

Runners and walkers who participated in Operation Angel Tree were, back row from left, Josh Brenden, Rita Ell, Dave Dalseide, Dave Deinert, Jared Pepperworth, Ryan Eilts, Mike Hoffman, Mat Podhradsky and Brian Bierema. Front row, from left: Chuck Eilts, Kyto Kpradith, Robert Buchholz and Steve Ehlers. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Eilts)
Runners and walkers who participated in Operation Angel Tree were, back row from left, Josh Brenden, Rita Ell, Dave Dalseide, Dave Deinert, Jared Pepperworth, Ryan Eilts, Mike Hoffman, Mat Podhradsky and Brian Bierema. Front row, from left: Chuck Eilts, Kyto Kpradith, Robert Buchholz and Steve Ehlers. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Eilts)

Chuck Eilts said he didn't want to run around Lake Mitchell for nothing, and it seems he did not.

Last week, Eilts and some close friends held a walk/run/ride to raise money for Angel Tree. On Wednesday, Eilts said the event-dubbed Operation Angel Tree-raised $2,565. That far surpassed the goal, which was to raise $1,000.

"We thought that was pretty awesome," Eilts said. "I think we accomplished our mission."

The event was born from a friendly wager between Eilts and Kyto Kpradith, both of Mitchell, when they challenged each other to finish a run around Lake Mitchell. Eilts and some close friends then turned the challenge into a fundraiser for the Angel Tree program, which provides gifts such as clothing and toys to children who might otherwise go without during the holiday season. Before racing, each participant gathered donations and pledges from the public to raise funds.

Eilts said 22 people participated in the challenge, which was to walk or run 10 miles around Lake Mitchell, or to bike 20 miles (around Lake Mitchell twice). There were nine bicyclists, 11 runners and two people walking.

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For most of the people who participated, Eilts included, he said it was the first time they had walked or run 10 miles at once. And, he noted with a chuckle, there were no injuries.

"Just soreness, but no injuries," he said. "It was definitely a challenge, but it was a challenge that worth it."

For an event that was conceived, planned and executed in about a week's time, Eilts said he is thrilled with both the day's turnout, and the end result. The weather even cooperated, he said.

"The weather was a little bit breezy and cool, but by the time we had completed the run, it was a beautiful day," he said.

He said the group hopes to do something similar again next year, and hopes to include more of the general public beyond his group of friends.

For those who weren't able to make pledges, Eilts encouraged people to visit the local Salvation Army in Mitchell. The Mitchell Salvation Army can be reached by phone at 996-3964, or is located at 724 N. Sanborn Blvd.

Bicyclists who participated in Operation Angel Tree last week were, Eric Miller, Dan Mehlhaff, Chris Murray, Jason Mueller, Marcus Martin, Marty Myers, Sara Schoenfelder, Russel Young and Dan Harrington. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Eilts)
Bicyclists who participated in Operation Angel Tree last week were, Eric Miller, Dan Mehlhaff, Chris Murray, Jason Mueller, Marcus Martin, Marty Myers, Sara Schoenfelder, Russel Young and Dan Harrington. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Eilts)

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