The Anoka Gray Ghost Run is named in honor of Anoka's ``Gray Ghost,`` who was actually a local veterinarian named Dr. William Andberg. His nickname was given to him by a reporter in 1971 after two women spotted him running through an Anoka cemetery in his gray sweat suit. The women called the police. He liked to run there to avoid annoying dogs. Andberg said, “They thought I was an ‘escapee’ from the state hospital and told the police that there was a man running in his underwear in the cemetery.’
Dr. Andberg was an accomplished athlete; setting several world age group records in his 50s, 60s, and 70s. ``The Marathon Handbook`` declared him the fastest man of his age in the world at the age of 60. He was named to three halls of fame.
He established the Anoka Gray Ghost Run in the mid-1970s as part of Anoka's Halloween celebration. Each year, approximately 1,500-2,000 runners compete in the Anoka Gray Ghost Run down Main Street just before the start of the Grand Day Parade. Dr. Andberg served as the honorary starter for the event for many years. He passed away at the age of 96.
The Halloween Capital of the World
Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World. Every year, Anoka celebrates in October with scores of activities leading up to the Grand Day Parade.