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34th Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run and Icebox Days 2014
INTERNATIONAL FALLS – Mother Nature has certainly set the stage in northern Minnesota for the trademarked Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run, scheduled for its 34th year on Saturday, Jan. 18, in the Icebox of the Nation, International Falls, Minn.
“If December temps are any indicator, runners striving this year to earn the motto, ‘Only the Bold Run the Cold,’ really will be walking the talk,” says Faye Whitbeck, president of the International Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber coordinates the Borderland winter festival known as Icebox Days, scheduled Jan. 16-19. The FYGBR is the feature event of the festival and draws runners from all over the nation and Canada. Record numbers hit the start-line in 2012 and 2013 – with approximately 300 runners both years.
The Gizzard Run has never been canceled in its 33 years – but in 1982 it was abbreviated when temps of 28 degrees below zero Fahrenheit plummeted to a minus 72 degrees with the brutal wind chill factor. “That was the year images of Gizzard runners’ ice-chiseled mustaches and frosted eyebrows began circling the globe,” Whitbeck said.
Although the frost does bite at times, runners each year return to enjoy the warmth of the camaraderie and to see how they compete with the weather. Winning male times in the FYGBR 10K range from 30:08 minutes to just over 37 minutes. Winning female 10K times range from 36:29 to just over 45 minutes.
There are eight FYGBR age categories, each awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. The 2014 event will feature a new 0-12 age category with medals awarded to one girl overall winner and one boy overall winner. Along with the races’ adult winners, all participants age 12 and under are recognized at award ceremonies.
Icebox Days XXXIV will see the return of the traditional wacky icebox events – such as the Viking Bar’s smoosh races, an original event initiated at this winter festival years ago. Smooshing involves synchronizing a competitive gait while all the left feet of four team members are attached to one board, and all their right feet are attached to another board. Two new events, also at the Viking, will be the redneck winter wonder-wear contest, and toilet seat tossing. Frozen turkey bowling, boot hockey, the beach party and the traditional chili cook-off among many other events will also return.
And for the fourth consecutive year, city fireworks under the winter sky in Smokey Bear Park are scheduled for Saturday evening.
Register for the 5K or the 10K FYGBR at www.freezeyergizzardrun.com or call the Falls Chamber at 218-283-9400 or 800-325-5766 for a registration form and information, or to schedule an event. The race course maps and the runners packet information will be posted at the above site, as will the Icebox Days XXXIV official schedule, when completed.