6th Annual CentraCare Health Wishbone Walk/Run

October 28, 2016 by · 3 Comments 

Keep on, keepin’ on!

The St. Cloud YMCA, in partnership with Bernick’s, kicked off their new year-round Family Fitness Series back in November 2011 when they hosted their 1st annual Thanksgiving Day Wishbone Walk-Run. Today, the non-competitive, family-friendly 1-mile, 2-mile and 5K run-walk around Whitney Park is still going strong!

If you’ve made this event a family tradition – we want you to keep on, keepin’ on!  If you’ve never participated in Central Minnesota’s premiere Thanksgiving Day fitness event – what are you waiting for?  Here are three reasons to start your turkey day at the CentraCare Health Wishbone Walk/Run:

  1. It’s affordable!  Only $10 for your entire family to register!  Oh, and, the registration fee includes a t-shirt for each participant. The deadline to guarantee a t-shirts is Wednesday, November 2nd.  So hurry up and register! 
  2. It’s a healthy way to start out the day!  Make this event the centerpiece of your day…not the stuffed turkey.
  3. It’s a great event to spend time with family!  What better way to enjoy our loved ones than taking a brisk walk or a quick run around Whitney Park.

The CentraCare Health Wishbone Walk/Run is the last event in the 2016 Bernick’s Family Fitness Series and the last event in the BLEND Fit Kids Club Series.  Help us finish the year strong and “keep on, keepin’ on” with all of us on Thanksgiving Day!

One more thing…here’s a flyer to print and hang on the fridge!

Guest Blog: 5 Reasons to Make the Jingle Bell Run a Family Tradition

October 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

2016-jingle-bell-run-bannerThe next Fit Kids Club event is the 19th annual Jingle Bell Run, which supports our area’s Toys for Tots program. In addition to the traditional 5K, the 1K Family Fun Run is perfect for all ages! Both will be held on November 19th (the Saturday before Thanksgiving) and will start at St. Cloud Orthopedics. Here are the five reasons why you and your family could adopt this yearly activity as a modern holiday tradition:

1) Support Your Community

All the money raised and toys donated will stay in the Central Minnesota area to help local families in need. The holiday season is a time for everyone to be thankful for what they have, and there’s no better way to kick-off the gift-giving season than by giving to our neighbors!

2) Bring the Family Together

Whole families love coming together for the annual Jingle Bell Run, and we love seeing how many groups return year after year to support this local cause.

3) Enjoy Outdoor Exercise, Minnesota-Style

Here’s an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors before entering into winter hibernation mode. The run is happening the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so while there’s always the chance for snow, we should be able to keep safe and warm as we actively experience the change of seasons.

4) Kick-Off The Holiday Season Right

Is there a better way to get into the holiday spirit than by giving gifts and running for a good cause? Plus, the 5K and 1K help keep healthy habits in mind as we begin to see more and more of the season’s sweet treats.

5) Set an Example

One of the best benefits of the Jingle Bell Run is the ability to teach kids the importance of giving. Our 1K Family Fun Run is designed to make it easy for the whole family to participate and do their part in helping the community. Let your kids pick out the toys, while the grown-ups take care of registration.

Registration Information:

Register online for the Jingle Bell 5K or 1K run or view the flyer and share with your friends & family! Those who register before November 6th are guaranteed an event T-shirt. Registration runs through race day on November 19th. For more details, visit the St. Cloud Orthopedics Jingle Bell page or give them a call at 320.202.5525.

Chad-RitterThis is a guest blog by Chad Ritter, MPT.

Chad Ritter, MPT, is a physical therapist at St. Cloud Orthopedics. He enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, who support the annual Jingle Bell Run and other youth athletic programs throughout the year.

Great Apple CRUNCH!

October 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


This Thursday, October 13 is the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch! It’s a long name, but it’s a simple concept: over lunch, we want children everywhere to enjoy a locally-procured and utterly delicious apple. To celebrate, our Farm-to-School locations will be serving local apples and teaching students more about the apple-growing process.

You can participate right at work and home! Make sure to look for a Minnesota-Grown apple, and then enjoy. (My favorite, the honeycrisp, is in season!)

Child child eating an apple in a park in nature.

Add your photos to the celebration by using the hashtags:







emily-photoThis blog was written by Emily Ackerman.

Emily is the current MN GreenCorps member serving with CentraCare Health Foundation in the BLEND offices. Her project this year will be incorporating Farm-to-School initiatives into four sites within the St. Cloud area. Her education background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with hopes to attend PA school in the future. She is a self-described foodie with an interest in local gardens and creating better access to healthy food!

[Guest Blog] The Todd Steinke FUNdraiser Run/Walk

September 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Lauren and her dadMy name is Lauren Steinke, and I am 16 years old. I attend St. Cloud Tech High School where I participate on the cross-country and track teams as well as student council. I am also on a junior triathlon team based out of Des Moines, IA. Ever since I was young, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been an important aspect in my life. Our family would cook healthy meals together and focus our “quality family time” on physical activity. Thankfully, many of these habits have stuck with me. I am excited to share my fundraiser information with you all!


About my Dad:

My father, Todd Steinke, tragically passed away in September 2015 at a lake home in Mentor, MN. During his short 47 years of life, he left such a large legacy. Dad loved his job and the people he was surrounded by. A month before his passing, my dad was promoted to the Vice President of Philanthropy with the CentraCare Health Foundation. He was very closely involved with BLEND as well. Although he was very hardworking, he always made time for fun and family. He always focused on the positive side of things, and other people always came first.

The bond the two of us shared is most definitely unbreakable. Being an only child, I got all of the love, which I cannot complain about! Everything I did, he was involved in, too. Dad coached my childhood basketball team and was sure to be at all track and cross-country meets. Not only was he there, but he was there with full black and orange coordinated outfits, a camera, a cowbell, and a loud cheering voice. Our bonding time usually consisted of lap swimming, a long bike with deep conversation, or running (until he could not keep up, that is). He literally was my triathlon coach for the first few years of my involvement. I miss him all the time, but I know he is with me.

The Todd Steinke FUNdraiser Run/Walk

To help honor my dad, I am creating an event called the Todd Steinke FUNdraiser Run/Walk.

What: A one mile run or walk.

When: Saturday October 8th, 2016 starting 10:00 a.m.

Where: CentraCare Health Plaza

Why: To celebrate the life of an amazing man as well as give back to the community: 100% of the funds raised will be donated to help adolescents who are grieving from a loss.

Cost: Registration is only $10 or there is an option to donate if you are unable to attend.

After Party: The post race fun will be held at House of Pizza Sartell with live music.

Other: Dilly Bars, car stickers, and water bottles are the things you will receive if you participate.

Each of the aspects to this fundraiser have significance. I made it a run because that is one of the many things my dad and I bonded over. It is on October 8th because that is in the middle of both of our birthdays, so why not celebrate? My dad worked at CentraCare Health, and it is a one mile loop around the Plaza. A huge part of Dad’s job was to raise money for meaningful causes, and that is what we are doing now. My dad was on the House of Pizza Triathlon Team, so it is only fitting the after party be held there. My Uncle Pat, who is a musician, is flying in from Colorado to provide entertainment as well. All of the post-race goodies were some of my dad’s staples and favorite items. All are more than welcome!

Here is the link to register: toddsteinkefundraiserrun.zapevent.com

I hope to see you at the Plaza!
Lauren Steinke

[Guest Blog] 5 Reasons the ATS Rock Your Sole Trail Run is Awesome

August 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Anna Findsen PicThis is a guest blog written by Anna Findsen,

Anna is the Health and Wellness Director at the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA. Her passion for the Y started after spending a summer at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO where the mission of “Putting Christian principals into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for ALL” really resonated with her. She is looking forward to providing the community with a variety of fitness opportunities and the construction of the brand new St. Cloud YMCA Community and Aquatics Center!

ATS Rock Your Sole Trail Run 2

From Olympic athletes to senior citizens, everyone seems to be running 5Ks. There are no shortages of unique race formats either- color runs, charity races, inflatables, midnight runs. What the heck is a doughnut run??

So what is all the hype? I have five solid reasons why the ATS Rock Your Sole Trail Run may just be the perfect race!

1. You Can Have a Life

If you are running a marathon you better make time for a few 3 hour training runs. With a 5K you can successfully train for the event and still be able to spend time with your family during the evenings and weekends. Whether it is your first race or you are a seasoned veteran you are guaranteed shorter training runs.

2. You Save Cash!

Since when does a 10K cost $50.00? Apparently that is the new normal. Be prepared to spend between $50-$100 for a 10K, Half Marathon, or Marathon. Thankfully, with 5Ks you can still get that “runner’s high” and race swag for a more affordable price.

3. No Fancy Gear

If you aren’t interested in running with water belts, energy gels, and chafing cream- the 5K is your best friend. Throw on shorts, t-shirt and good pair of shoes and you are good to go.

4. Overuse

Shorter training runs= less risk of overuse injuries. Of course it is still important to listen to your body and take care of yourself for ANY race but with the 5K you are less likely to over train. Even with the 5K, make sure you are cross training one day a week and keeping up with your strength training- it will make you a better and safer runner.

5. You Can Stay Local

No need to travel far to participate in quality and family friendly 5Ks. We have plenty in the St. Cloud area including the ATS Rock Your Sole Trail Run.

So basically, the 5K is the perfect race and you should really do one. If you can put one foot in front of the other, then you can run or walk 3.1 miles! If you need help training for the trail run or ANY 5K then check out the YMCA’s Outdoor Couch to 5K training program that started July 12th and meets every Tuesday and Thursday, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the YMCA Lobby.

Details of the Race

This event will take place on Saturday, August 20th at Quarry Park with the following timeline:

There will also be healthy snacks provided by Coborns, medals for all youth finishers, beverages provided by Bernick’s, and prize drawings after the 5K. See the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA website to register and for more details.

BLEND will also be at the ATS Rock Your Sole Trail Run, and for the first time BLEND will have a selfie-stick booth!! Selfie sticks will be provided to take pictures with your family and friends. If you take any photos at the race or at the selfie-stick booth please tag us @BLENDcentralmn or share your photos on our Facebook page!

In Health,

Anna Findsen

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