Sunnybrook Stomp – how I went from being a spectator to winning a 5k!

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By Kris Anderson – Quality & Privacy Manager

Growing up I was a member of my track team, but only competed in short-to- medium distance races. After I finished school, I got married and had three children. I went from competing in sports to now sitting in the bleachers cheering for my children at their sporting events. When I saw an e-mail about a program that our wellness committee, Healthy by Choice, was beginning, it peaked my interest because I had been thinking about getting back into running. It was a  running program called, “Couch to 5K”. At the end of the nine-week training program we could all race in the Sunnybrook Stomp 5K. I thought it would be a great opportunity to challenge my current exercise routine (which includes “Blaine’s Boot Camp” at the Bertha Area Wellness Center) and myself! A 5K is something I never thought I would do. Though I consider myself an active person, I had never challenged myself like this before.

The group started in mid-April and was led by Rachel Amiot, the wellness coordinator at the Bertha Area Wellness

Kris receiving her award for winning her age group at the Sunnybrook Stomp 5K.

Kris receiving her award for winning her age group at the Sunnybrook Stomp 5K.

Center. She taught us some great tips about long-distance running. What was also nice about the weekly group is that I got to meet employees from all different departments.

I knew if I signed up for something then I would be committed and would want to finish the program. There are days where I found myself dragging. I’m like so many people who work at a desk all day. Mentally, I’m tired at the end the day. Those are the moments that you never want to exercise. But the truth is, you always feel better after you exercise! You could tell as the weeks went on it became easier. It’s surprising how far you can really progress and how you can feel physically stronger in just nine weeks.

Kris racing to the finish line!

Kris racing to the finish line!

My goal was to run the entire 5K race. This last Friday I accomplished my goal of running the whole way and I won my age group! I was surprised and shocked! Running 3.1 miles is a long way, but I did it.

I’ve also put September 26 on my calendar and am planning to do the Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl, with proceeds going to childhood cancer. It’s a great way to keep myself motivated and run for a great cause. If I don’t sign myself up for it…I know that I would talk myself right out of it or find something else to fill my schedule. When I had running club on Mondays I committed to running and it was reserved on my calendar.

Want to join Kris at other 5K races this summer? Here is a list of some local 5K’s coming up…

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About the Author: Kris Anderson is a longtime resident of Hewitt, MN and has worked for Tri-County Health Care for more than 30 years. In her current position, she is the Quality & Privacy Manager and works to ensure the hospital is ready for surveys, that patient’s records are kept confidential and manages Medical Staff credentialing and privileging. She has three children, five grandchildren and enjoys going to the lake and spending time with her family.

What’s your WHY? Why Exercise became critical in my life

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By: Rachel Amiot, Wellness Coordinator at Bertha Area Wellness Center & Certified Personal Trainer

We’ve all heard that exercising has benefits such as increasing our energy, strength, mood and helping our hearts function more efficiently. Most of us feel we should probably get to the gym a few more times a year…all right maybe a few more times a week! I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of stuff to do on a daily basis. I have a house to clean, laundry to do, a 40+ hour a week job, dinner to prepare…shoot that reminds me I have to run to the grocery store! You see, I really do want to exercise more I just don’t have time; my life is just too busy.

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Young Rachel (far right) with her two younger sisters

So you may be wondering why I recently decided to go back to become a certified personal trainer? I learned at a very young age that life is fragile. When I was five years old I attended my first funeral for my 56-year-old grandmother who passed away from a heart condition. Ten years later I found myself back in the same church for my grandfather’s funeral. Shortly thereafter my 43-year-old uncle passed away from a heart attack while moving furniture. At an early age, I saw firsthand how everyday lifestyle choices played a factor into my dear family member’s early passings. I was scared this same pattern would be passed on to me.

Rachel & her family

Rachel & her family

You can’t outsmart hereditary and I knew exercising needed to become a priority even if that meant I’d have an extra load of laundry to do on the weekend. I realized that we are all given the same 24 hours in a day; the only difference is how we decide to use those hours. Time management was something I was going to have to get better at because fitting exercise in my day to me meant another day. I found that exercising became a relief for me from worry, anxiety and sadness. Exercise made me feel good, happy and strong! In turn that made me feel beautiful no matter how many breakouts I had on my face or my pant size. My hope is that people would realize that exercise not only benefits your heart, increases your blood circulation, boosts your mood, helps you focus, gives you energy, makes you stronger and reduces your risk of chronic health conditions, but it also can be a time of self-reflection and meditation.

We owe it to ourselves to look after our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I made exercise a priority in my life because I want to live a long, full life. I owe that to myself and the memory of my late family members.

So what I want to leave you with is this…what’s your why?

Ironman finisher

Rachel completed an Ironman in 2014!

About the Author: Rachel Amiot is the Wellness Coordinator and Certified Personal Trainer for the Bertha Area Wellness Center in Bertha, MN. Her passion is to lead by example and teach people how to lead a healthier lifestyle. She is a member of the Wellness Committee at Tri-County Health Care and leads the Couch to 5k running group for the Sunnybrook Stomp on June 19th. In her free time she bikes with her dad, runs with her dog and trains for triathlons.

Why I decided to run in a 5K…

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By: Medley Shamp

What is a 5K?

Medley running in a 5K

Medley running in a 5K

Prior to 2010, I had no desire to know what a 5k was, what it entailed or even speaking the words 5K. Since then, I’ve taken up this sport as a way to maintain my health, manage stress and meet new people.

The #1 question I hear is: WHY? Why would you want to do this? My answer is simple. Health. You see, most 5K participants are not high school track stars. Now, this is not to say your old high school buddy won’t be at this event, I’m saying that these local events are typically filled with people just like you and I. People who are ready to take charge of their health, possibly lose a little weight, spend time with others who enjoy running and sponsor the cause the event is recognizing.

Some frequently asked questions about 5K’s:

What is a 5K? A 5K is an event where the participant walks or runs 3.1 miles.

Where does a 5K occur? Everywhere! More commonly a 5K is held during town festivities (i.e. June Jubilee) or events focused on raising awareness (such as cancer awareness). 5K’s are also held year-round…yes, people actually run outside during our Minnesota winters!

What occurs at a 5K? The participant usually registers for the event in advance. On the day of the event you check in, collect your bib (participant number) and receive your goody bag. A goody bag? Yes! The organization holding the event usually includes a T-shirt and maybe even coupons to upcoming races, discounts to area businesses, granola bars, umbrellas, water bottles, headbands or stocking hats.

Am I timed? Yes, most events time the runner with a large time clock or through a small chip in their bib. Most participants are usually only concerned with their time. Something many non-runners don’t know and that is, that we really aren’t competing with each other, but with ourselves, aiming to beat our best and get a “PR” or personal record.

How much does a 5k cost? Typically, the cost of a traditional 5K run/walk is between $20-30. Fun runs, mud runs and obstacle course events usually cost a little more.

Do I need to train? To an extent yes. If you plan to run a 5K and do not currently run, a helpful training tool called “Couch to 5K” may help you. If you plan to walk a 5K, which by the way nearly 1/3 of participants are walkers, you do not need to train if you can walk a leisurely 2-3 miles now.

Finally where do I find a 5K? I thought you’d never ask…here are some upcoming local races…

Sunnybrook Stomp in Wadena on Friday, June 19 (sign-up now to join me at

Sebeka Red River Eye Days 5K on Saturday, June 20 at 9 a.m.

Henning 5K on Saturday, July 11, registration at 7 a.m.

Ruth’s Rainbow Run on Saturday July 11 in New York Mills

Deer Creek 5K on Saturday, July 25.

Bertha 5K on Saturday, July 11.

Never Give UP 5K Walk/Run (Suicide Awareness) Saturday, August 29.

Nimrod 5K on Saturday, September 5

Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl on Saturday, September 26

Medley & her family

Medley & her family

Now you know what a 5K is, I challenge you to try one this summer!



About Medley: I am a mother of two teenagers Cody 13, Taylor 17, my husband Adam and I are both employees of TCHC. In March I transitioned from Outreach Orthopedics to Care Coordination. We are lifelong residents of Bertha, enjoy attending our kids sporting events, hunting, fishing and camping.

You may ask what keeps me going with a packed schedule? A big motivator for me is a 7 year old boy I met through a running group called IR4 where runners log miles for their physically disabled buddies. Dean has a very rare disease called Pancreatic Agenesis where he is not able to be as active as other kids his age.

I may not be the fastest runner, or the most athletic person for that matter, but I run because I have a heart to be the very best version of myself each and everyday.

*For more information on IR4 visit There is no cost to participate.