Runners, families jog to support firefighters

By Scott Spinks
Long Lake Fire Department

Around 140 runners took part in this year’s Red Hot Run 5k and Kids Fun Run. (Photo by Alicia Larson)

On Saturday, July 29, the Long Lake Fire Department hosted its annual Red Hot Run 5k and Kids Fun Run with Sparky.

Every year, the event brings the community together to promote health and fitness by welcoming families and runners of all ages to take part in a 5K that begins at Long Lake Fire Station One. The run follows Willow Drive to the historic Luce Line Trail and ends back at the fire station.

Nearly 140 runners took part in the 5K this year. After the completion of the Red Hot Run 5K, over 40 children lined up at the starting line and ran a 1K Fun Run with Sparky, the Fire Dog.

In addition to the large group of individual runners, Plymouth and Mound Fire Departments competed against a team of Long Lake firefighters for the right to carry “The Ax,” which is a traveling trophy for fire departments who compete as a team in the Red Hot Run 5k every year. This year, Plymouth Fire Department edged out Long Lake Fire and Mound Fire to take The Ax for the second time in three years.

This year’s Red Hot Run 5K was extra special, as it also served as an opportunity to recognize a family who has been vital to the existence of the Long Lake Fire Department, the Rettingers.

To honor the Rettingers and the department’s founding chief, Sam Rettinger, the road that runs along the south side of Long Lake Fire Station One was renamed Rettinger Drive.

Kelly Shaughnessy, a 40-plus year veteran and current captain of the fire department, emceed the ceremony. The dedication ceremony concluded with Mark Warden, who is a Long Lake firefighter and a great grandson of Sam Rettinger, revealing the street sign that now stands permanently on the corner of Willow Drive and what was formerly known as Fire Station Drive.

The Long Lake Fire Department Red Hot Run 5k and Kids Fun Run is held on the last Saturday of July every year. All money raised at the event goes directly to the Long Lake Fireman’s Relief Association, which helps the fire department purchase equipment and supplies that are not included in the department’s operating budget. Donations can be made at