Iron Challenge

Riders take a curve during last year’s fat tire bike race during the inaugural Iron Challenge at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch. Registration is still open for this Saturday’s race, which benefits Ironwood Springs and MN Adult & Teen Challenge.

For the past few years, there’s been a certain risk in scheduling a snow-related fundraising event in southeastern Minnesota.

People don’t get excited about a cross-country ski race or a snowmobile ride when there’s more grass than snow covering the landscape.

This year, that isn’t a problem — and that’s good news for Tom Truszinski.

He’s the center director at MN Adult & Teen Challenge, which is one of the beneficiaries of Saturday’s Iron Challenge at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch.

The event includes a one-mile fat tire bike race and a 4K run on the ranch’s scenic trails — and Truszinski said this week’s fresh snow will be a blessing.

“The races are on groomed trails, so the new snow is going to help out greatly,” he said.

This is the event’s second year. Last year, about 30 people participated in the bike race and/or the run, and so far this year 23 people have pre-registered. Walk-ins on race day will be accepted, and Truszinski said he believes a lot of people are watching the weather.

“We live in the world of the last minute,” he said. “I think people are leaving it as an option.”

Last year’s event, with the help of donations from sponsors, raised $5,000 each for Ironwood Springs and MN Adult & Teen Challenge, which is a drug rehabilitation and recovery center. The funds raised during Saturday’s event will help those in recovery stay physically active.

“This will go toward the men and women who are in our long-term program, which is 13 months,” Truszinski said. “We really believe in body, mind and soul. We’re a faith-based program, but we also want to make sure we’re taking care of the body, so we’re involved in numerous softball leagues, flag football, volleyball leagues — a number of them play hockey on Fridays.

“It’s very important to get people out in the community, not only for their well-being right now, but also teaching them some sober, clean activities that they can take with them when they leave the program.”

For anyone who doesn’t want to bike or run, but wants to join in the fun on Saturday, sleigh rides will be provided, as well as snow tubing, walking trails or hot beverages to sip by a bonfire.

To learn more or to pre-register, go online at www.ironchallengemn.org.

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