Weather Forecast


30 Days event returns as way to ease into exercise

Brad Larsen, senior systems analyst at the Information Systems Department at Altru will be one of the runners participating in Altru's upcoming 30 Days of Running in June. Photo by Darren Gibbins special to the Herald

At 240 pounds, Grand Forks resident Brad Larsen said he’s not exactly your typical runner.

He describes himself as one of the ultimate “anti-runners,” a man who has an awkward waddle for a stride and one of the least likely to sign up for a running event. But he’s decided to join Altru’s 30 Days of Running, which begins June 1, simply because it’s fun.

“It just gives you something to think about and something to train for,” he said.

Altru created the event to entice non-experienced joggers to get moving for one month. Participants communicated through a Facebook page and logged their distance each time to win prizes.

The second annual event is expected to be bigger than last, with more than 400 pairs of shoelaces given out to people who plan to run this summer, said Annie Berge, spokeswoman for Altru. Two-mile Tuesdays and other events similar to last year will be offered again, but in an effort to get families and children involved, Altru will also offer yard games from Scheels as prizes on Friday, she said.

A healthy bet

Larsen, a senior systems analyst at Altru Health System, said he joined his first running event in 2008 on a bet.

He and his friend, an avid runner, began trash-talking each other about running, and Larsen ended up making bet that he could finish a 5K within nine minutes of his friend, he recalled.

As a former athlete in high school, he felt it was pretty reasonable, he said.

“I was approaching 40 and still thinking (I could handle the same) as when I was 18,” he said. “So, I just got creamed.”

After that first defeat, Larsen continued running. He enjoyed setting specific goals, liked having a plan and getting fit in a short amount of time, he said. Plus, his wife, his friend and several people who work in his department are runners, so he liked being part of the conversation, he said.

Since his first running event, he’s participated in the Wild Hog Half Marathon, the Fargo Marathon and several smaller events. He intensified his training last October and has lost 15 pounds since then, he said.

What he enjoys about 30 Days of Running is the manageable distances he can run at any time, he said.

“Grand Forks is such a great town for sidewalks and safety, so you can do that in the morning, at night,” he said. “All you have to do is figure out how to get your 15 minutes in.”

To encourage people to keep moving past June, Altru is also kicking off a training team at the end of the month to get people ready for the Wild Hog, said Berge. Other smaller events will also be held by Altru and other health partners in June in addition to 30 Days of Running.

“It’s a way to keep people going and stay active,” she said.

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald.  Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit 

(701) 787-6736