Chameleon 5K — Rainbow of Color at Rice Lake Refuge


Brett Larson Staff Writer

The Third Annual Chameleon 5K run/walk traveled to District II in the pristine setting of Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

The event is made possible through the Mille Lacs Band’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant and organized by SHIP Coordinator Darla Roache.

At the Twin Lakes parking lot, 135 runners and walkers counted down with Darla and another 15 staff and spectators. On the word “Go!” they tossed their colored cornstarch in the air and headed off down the road, where they were met each quarter-mile by more clouds of color — green, yellow, purple and orange.

By the time they finished the 5K course, their shirts, skin and hair were covered, and their exercise had earned them a medal and a meal.

The medals, provided by the Tobacco Prevention program, were adorned with the Mille Lacs Band and Chameleon Run logos, and “Keep Tobacco Sacred” printed on the lanyards.

“It was a beautiful day, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather,” Darla said. “I’m happy to report that there were no injuries to any of the participants.”

“I would like to send a special thanks to Byron Ninham and the Niigaan staff, Wraparound staff, and Public Health staff for
their help and support of the Chameleon 5k events,” Darla said. “And thank you to all those that were able to attend. It was a
great turnout!”

Although the event was non-competitive, Jeff Boyd of Minisinaakwaang Leadership Academy finished first for the third straight year.

Jada, Jason and Bly Wind of Nay Ah Shing were three of the top five finishers, giving new meaning to the old saying “run like the wind.”