Fun Run put on hold due to Covid

One of the area’s biggest winter events won’t happen as scheduled but organizers still hope to pull it off in 2022.
The Fun Run was scheduled for Feb. 5 but Covid restrictions have caused organizers to put it on hold for now.
“We understand there are guidelines that need to be followed and we want to be as Covid safe as we can,” said Fun Run co-chair Jim Zupanich. “If the decision is made where we can’t have 150 people at the wrap up party, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put on the event.”
The wrap up party is normally held in the ballroom at Fortune Bay Resort Casino.
“While all of us would have loved to been able to bring back the Fun Run this February, it just wasn’t feasible with so many unknowns that go hand in hand with this never-ending pandemic,” said Fortune Bay’s Director of Public Relations Brian K. Anderson. “We are hopeful that we can reschedule this coming spring or fall as the area snowmobile clubs certainly count on this fundraising effort to help with the costs associated with trail upkeep, equipment purchases, and other expenses incurred by them throughout the year.”
The event was last held in 2020 and was cancelled in 2021 due to Covid.
“It’s unfortunate and we will continue doing the event and boy do we have prizes when this thing starts again,” said Zupancich.
“We’d still like to make it happen but we need two months of planning time to pull it off so things would need to change fairly quickly in order to have it this upcoming snowmobile season,” said Fun Run co-chair Nick Wognum.
Proceeds from the Fun Run support area snowmobile trails, but the event has evolved in its two decades and now serves as one of the top family-fun events of the winter for the Ely, Babbitt and Tower communities.
“We really want to find a way to have the event if we can because it’s a big boost to the three snowmobile clubs that benefit from it,” said Wognum.
The cancellation also hits hard at Fortune Bay, where the hotel is sold out during Fun Run weekend with hundreds of others coming to the casino for the wrap-up party, where several hundred prizes are given away.
“I know it wasn’t an easy decision for Jimmy and Nick to cancel for a second consecutive year, but there are so many moving parts to put on an event of this size that it would have been a shame to keep moving forward only to have it canceled at the last minute,” said Anderson of the event, which typically draws over 700 people to The Woodlands Ballroom for the wrap up party.
While portions of the event have changed and more prizes seem to be added each year, the crux of the Fun Run remains the same.
Participants, for either a $25 advance entry or $30 on the day of the event, can increase their opportunities to win prizes by riding or driving between checkpoints in all three communities.
It’s billed as a family fun event and draws a mix of those who participate by snowmobile, and others who drive between the various checkpoints. All entrants are eligible for prizes in the grand giveaway, and the wrap-up party annually includes several other raffles for various prizes.