|5/7/2013 12:27:00 PM|
Med City officials hope for a record 3,200 entrants
|Marilee Quint of Rochester offers high fives to spectators. Photo by Tom O'Leary.|
By David Richards
For nearly two decades, the Med City Marathon has been quenching the thirst of runners who long for running the streets of Rochester and its surrounding areas in a race format.
For 2013, the event takes place Sunday, May 26, with the marathon and half marathon both beginning at Byron Elementary School at 7 a.m.
Th race is the brainchild of Wally Arnold and his wife Peg, who moved to Byron four years ago.
"We were part of the Rochester track club, and we had just run the Twin Cities Marathon in 1993," Wally Arnold said.
"We had a good time and thought that Rochester should have one."
With those thoughts, the Med City Marathon was born, starting in 1995.
It is made possible only through the hard work of the Arnolds, the support of the race's sponsors, local law enforcement and 500 volunteers, (including the Byron track and cross country teams) who handle everything from water stops to handing out food at the finish.
"It's kind of nice that we can start some place and run on roads and into town and then get runners out onto the trails," Wally Arnold said.
Last year, 3,000 people participated in all of the Med City events, which include the marathon, half marathon and races for kids, just to name a few.
This year organizers hope to reach the 3,200 mark. The marathon, which also serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, usually attracts 600 runners, with the half marathon featuring double that.
The race begins in Byron, goes from the elementary school to Kwik Trip along the Frontage Road, then crosses over 14 and eventually goes along Circle Drive, the Cascade bike trail and down to Silver Lake, then to Quarry Hill and into Soldiers Field.
Runners can register at medcitymarathon.com.
As for law enforcement, in wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings, Wally Arnold said he has met with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Department, the Rochester Police and the Olmsted County Department of Homeland Security to discuss ways to make the race as safe as possible.
"It always makes you think a little bit more," Wally Arnold said of the bombing. "But you can't let crazy people ruin your life; it's kind of a sad deal."
As for whether he thought of canceling this year's race, he was quick to respond.
"Oh no, absolutely not."
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