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Finnish settlement honored with Mpls. to Cokato walk attempt
November, 2, 2015

By Solomon Gustavo
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN - Four men attempted to walk about 50 miles from Minneapolis to Cokato in one day, Oct. 24.

The attempt simulated a walk that took place 150 years ago, according to event organizer Greg Isola. During the fall of 1865, four Finnish immigrants trekked from Minneapolis to settle in Cokato. The 19th century attempt was completed in one day.

The plan, organized by Greg Isola, was to leave downtown Minneapolis at 5 a.m and arrive in Cokato at 9 p.m., but the furthest anyone made it was Watertown.

“We were satisfied with our attempt and the day as a whole. It was just surprising to me that we could not, in fact, do it,” Isola noted.

The four men set off, along with a “rescue van” with a registered nurse and registered dietitian in tow, and stocked with food and drink for support.

Isola was the first to bow out, making it 22 miles. Jared Pekuri was nex

t. Dan Hepokoski and Abram Isola, Greg’s son, made it the furthest, stopping in Watertown, about 20 miles short of their goal.

The conditions cooperated, Isola called the day’s weather “a beautiful cool day” and the group utilized the maintained surface of the Luce Line State Trail. Isola noted he walks regularly, and the other three participants have all run a marathon, but the group was no match for re-creating that fateful Finnish feat.

“At first, it seemed like we were maintaining a very quick pace, according to schedule,” Isola noted.

“We planned to arrive in Watertown by 1:55 p.m., but Dan and Abram, who were the ones to make it that far, arrived about 5:30 p.m.”

According to Isola, the average age of the reenactors was 37 years old, the youngest being 19. The average age of the original Finnish four, Matias Karjenaho, Olof Westerberg, Johan Winikka and Elias Peltopera, was 41 years old, the youngest being 29.

The “rescue van” whisked the four reenactors the rest of the way. They were greeted by a reception of supporters in Cokato upon arrival.

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