Second annual Wild Hog Half Marathon set to run this weekend
A year ago, Richard Dafoe believed the potential was there for Grand Forks to run a successful Wild Hog Half Marathon.
The potential indeed was there.
And potential turned into reality when nearly 1,500 participants registered for the inaugural event.
This week, the second annual Wild Hog Half Marathon is scheduled and indications are clear that this year's event will be bigger than the inaugural race.
"Last year, we were surprised and overwhelmed in a good way regarding the turnout," said Dafoe, the half marathon race director. "We worked really hard at it and had a lot of good people involved."
The marquee event of the weekend -- the half marathon -- is scheduled for Saturday. Organizers project that more than 2,000 participants will take part in the two-day event, which features a 5K race, a 10K race and the half marathon.
"It's a lot to bite off," said Dafoe of the half marathon and corresponding runs. "Behind the scenes last year, we were really scrambling and wondering how we were going to do this. But on the front end, it was a good day and the participants really had a good time."
The half marathon course will start and finish near the Wild Hog Smokehouse and Choice Health and Fitness Center on along South Washington Street.
Runners will race through residential areas and downtown Grand Forks before crossing the Point Bridge into East Grand Forks. Then, they'll make their way back across the river to finish the race.
Devin Monson of Thompson, N.D., won last year's half marathon in 1 hour, 10 minutes. He'll be back to defend his title.
With the success of the inaugural event and more participants already registered for this year's run, the potential exists to turn the half marathon into a full marathon.
The timing of the event also lends to the possibility that it could become a marquee fall race in the region. The Fargo Marathon is held in May and Grandma's Marathon in Duluth is held in the early summer.
"If this year goes well and we have the growth we want, we will feel more comfortable to go to a full marathon," Dafoe said.
When that will be, however, is yet to be decided.
"The goal is sooner than later," he said. "This is a big deal for the community."
The event, which also serves as an opportunity to promote fitness in the Greater Grand Forks area, kicks off with a family fun run and 5K race Friday night at 6:30. Olympian Carrie Tollefson also will speak Friday night near the Wild Hog.
On Saturday, the 10K and half marathon races will begin at 8 a.m.
Because the majority of the course is located within residential areas, Greater Grand Forks residents can encourage runners from the comfort of their own front yards or neighborhoods.
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