During the summer of 2018 the challenge was given to me during a trail friend’s trip to the Oregon Coast 50K, to think about starting my own trail run race.  My friends encouraged me with their belief in my abilities based on the passion I had for trail running, my experience with trail running over the years and my over two decades of directing road races. They also volunteered to be part of my team if I decided on it.  Enter Sarah Morgan, the initial instigator, Diane Deigmann and Trish Johnson, all great friends that I had spent a great deal of time with either coaching, running or adventuring together.

There were a few things that I wished to have happen during this venture that are continued works in progress:

1. Serve the community and the trails that we would use;

2. Work to be a responsible event re sustainability efforts;

3. Be inclusive for anyone desiring to be a part of the event;

In the fall of 2018 we hosted a trial trail run at Ritter Farm Park, a 360 acre city owned park that is a beautiful and hidden gem located just south of the river off of Interstate 35.  Our informal gathering brought us approximately 150 interested participants with only 2 months to spread the word.

The decision to start the Run the Ritter was officially made, new members to the race committee were added and the first official Run The Ritter was held in November of 2019 with a cap of 200 registrants and more interested.

The 2019 launch was followed by two years of pandemic related challenges with limited numbers and required precautions made.

It is exciting  that we are now on a schedule of hosting Run The Ritter the second Saturday of each November and that it has grown in popularity to now 350 participants.  Our mission to dedicate as many funds as we can from the annual run with a donation back to Ritter Farm Park for woodland management,  prairie restoration and trail sustainability has allowed us to give back to the trails that we borrow for our event which circles back to our original goal and mission.  We hope to reach the $10K in donation mark within the next couple of years.

My great team and I work with passion on this event and as 100% volunteers.  The revenues brought in are used to fund the necessary permits, insurance, logistics and operational needs to produce the existing race and as foundation funds to plan and produce the next race with the remaining funds being donated back to Ritter Farm Park.

I am thankful for everyone that has been a part of the growth of this amazing community event. 

Paulette Odenthal
Run The Ritter
Event Founder and Director

Meet the Awesome Ritter Race Team

Kristi Kelly

Running has always been a passion of mine. I signed up for my first marathon in 2015, it was something that had always been on my bucket list. I quickly learned that I enjoyed distance running and the training that goes along with it. In 2017 I signed up to train with a group which is where I met all the committee members for Run the Ritter. From that group I learned about the community that runners have built and instantly knew it was so much more than just running. I still run at least one marathon each year and love when I get the opportunity to go out for a run with these runners on the committee.

Catherine Fredrick

Hi, I'm Catherine! I'm a triathlete and runner. I have a few 70.3s, marathons and ultras under my belt and I'm always on the lookout for my next adventure. I live in Lakeville with my partner, Jeff, and together we run, bike, swim and do our best to thoroughly enjoy life. I work for an education technology company and have two naughty but adorable dogs.

Nimol Grimm

Hi I'm Nimol and I started running before I turned 40 and now have run 17 trail marathons, 31 road marathons, 6 50K distances and 1 50 miler. I love trail races best and enjoy running and hiking through the woods and plan to do this until Jesus calls me home. I met coach around 2010 at Lifetime and thru the years we've had many adventures together. I am happy to serve the trail runners at Run The Ritter.

Diane Deigmann

While traveling in Portland, OR for the Mt. Hood 50k in 2018, Coach Paulette mentioned that she would like to start her own race event at Ritter. Sarah, Trish, and I encouraged Coach to do it and threw out our ideas. Much to my surprise, I received a detailed email from her only 3 weeks later with plans for an inaugural event in 3 months! I’m very proud to be a part of Run the Ritter’s origin and to be a part of the amazing and robust Twin Cities running community.

Sarah Morgan

My love for running started at a young age with track and cross country. I learned early on that runs brought mental clarity, fitness, and time with friends. After I had my daughter, Maggie, I joined the Lifetime run club. There I met lifelong running friends and found a love for the marathon distance and trail running. I’m now always searching for the next race adventure. I am thrilled to be part of a committee that brings a quality trail race to the Lakeville area. I hope run the Ritter brings trail memories to you that are unforgettable.

Meah Willard

From “aerobics” in the late 1980s to present day adventures on trails, group fitness training, cross country skiing, and biking, being active has always been a part of my life. It is also important for my mental health. Connecting with Mother Nature on trails is my favorite place to be active. Hoping for many more miles on this journey. Happy Trails y’all!

Trish Johnson

Hey, I am Trish… I started running about 14 years ago mostly roads… but then I discovered trail running! I love discovering new local trails to run on, as well as looking for adventures in our other surrounding cities and states! I like to say... Run all the miles and pet all the dogs!

Jennifer Seivert

I started running when I was about 40, shortly after my dad passed away. It gave me an outlet to think and remember him. I enjoyed it so much that I started running more & more, ran in some local events and eventually set a goal to run a marathon. I joined the marathon training class at Life Time, where I met Coach Paulette. What a fun experience! Crossing that Finish line was amazing! In recent years, I’ve volunteered at in the merchandise area for the Get in Gear & Run the Ritter events. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family at the cabin, hiking, traveling and walking our yellow lab, Nino!

Kari Bach

Established, owned and operated Run n Fun, along with husband Perry, for the last 30 years. Recently sold the business to TC Running Company. Has a love and passion for family, friends and the great outdoors.

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