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The 2023 811 5K Run/Walk turned out to be a great success bringing Minnesotans together to raise awareness for safe digging. Held August 12, 2023, at Bde Maka Ska’s Thomas Beach in Minneapolis, this year’s event featured participants from the Twin Cities and the surrounding suburbs, a damage prevention-focused vendor fair, and the annual Kid’s Race.

The annual 811 5K celebrates “8-1-1 Day,” a day typically observed on or near August 11 (8/11), and calls attention to “8-1-1” – the national phone number used to submit free locate requests prior to breaking any ground. Whether digging in the backyard or excavating at job site, it’s the law for Minnesotans to contact Gopher State One Call (GSOC) either by phone or by going to GopherStateOneCall.org before digging. These locate requests are used to notify local utility companies, which will then come out and use the APWA color code to mark the dig site for underground utilities with flags or spray paint. “We provide it as a free service so that we keep the communities safe when they go to dig,” shared Steve Olinger, senior specialist public safety at CenterPoint Energy.

Hosted by numerous companies committed to underground utility safety, the 811 Day 5K is a family-friendly event that welcomes damage prevention professionals and their families, community members, and everyone’s four-legged friends for a 5K focused on fun. After the main race, children under 10 were encouraged to join the highly anticipated Kid’s Race – a free, short-distance sprint. Both participants and passers-by explored a variety of booths set up by the utility-focused sponsors at the vendor fair, providing a great opportunity to ask questions about everything from safe digging to solar panels and collect fun giveaways.

On top of being fun and informative, the event raised money for a great cause. All of the proceeds of the event, including the $18.11 registration fee, went to Twin Cities Firefighters Operation Warm, an organization that provides children in need with new, warm winter coats.

Thank you to all of the sponsors that made the 2023 811 5K such a success: CenterPoint Energy, Dakota Electric Association, Michels, MP Technologies, Northern Natural Gas, One Call Concepts, Primoris, Rhino Marking & Protection Systems, USIC, Vannguard Utility Partners, and Xcel Energy.

Ready to join in on the fun? Mark your calendar for the next 811 5K Run/Walk on August 10, 2024!

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