How the Get In Gear 10K Works

The Get in Gear 10K is held every year in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Get in Gear 10K is held every year in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Get in Gear 10K has kicked off spring in Minneapolis, Minn., since 1978. Nicknamed the state's "Annual Rite of Spring," Get in Gear (GIG) is held the last Saturday of April each year, with runners starting and ending their race at Minneapolis' Minnehaha Park. Though it started as a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race, GIG has expanded over the years to include four running events, all with courses certified by U.S.A. Track & Field. (USATF):

  • 10K Run -- The original event, open to runners and handcyclists ages 12 and older, and for younger kids with permission from the race director
  • 5K Run/Walk -- A shorter event open to all ages, added in 2005 for recreational runners and those still in training for longer events
  • 2K Fun Run -- An event open to all ages, with a focus on school-age kids in the Fit-For-Fun program which started in 1987
  • Half-marathon -- A long-distance run (about 21 kilometers, or 13.1 miles) which puts runners' endurance to the test.

Held in April 1978, the first Get in Gear 10K had about 4,500 participants. The Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) and other running enthusiast groups organized similar but smaller events in Minnesota for years before that. The Get in Gear 10K was a large-scale response to a growing trend in distance running inspired by U.S. Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter, who won gold in 1972 and silver in 1976. [source: Winter]

In 1990, GIG incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. GIG is managed by a board, an executive director, a race operations committee, and a seasonal office staff. GIG also has hundreds of volunteers that help on race day, and the organization supports some of the community organizations that provide volunteers. GIG keeps its Web site up year-round, and that's where participants can register, get detailed race information and find results from past races.

Starting in 2006, GIG partnered with Second Harvest Heartland, a charity providing food for needy children. Annually, GIG matches the cash donations from its race participants (up to $10,000 per participant) to Second Harvest Heartland. In 2009 the total donation was $60,000, and as of this writing GIG had a 2010 goal to raise $100,000. GIG also encourages race participants to bring non-perishable foods to the registration and packet pickup the day before the run, and to the event itself for donation to the Second Harvest Heartland food bank.

On your mark, get set and go on to the next page to read more about the Get in Gear race experience.