Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



ROLLIN' ON THE RIVER INLINE MARATHON: Organizers satisfied with first-year results

Last weekend's Rollin' on the River Inline Marathon was one of the more complex community events pulled off in Grand Forks, and organizers say they're satisfied with how it went in its first year.

At the gun Aug. 27 the first class of skaters start the first Rollin' on the River Inline Marathon on S. 42nd St. in Grand Forks. Herald photo by John Stennes.

Last weekend's Rollin' on the River Inline Marathon was one of the more complex community events pulled off in Grand Forks, and organizers say they're satisfied with how it went in its first year.

Julie Rygg, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said everything went like clockwork, and racers were very happy. They've been to lots of races, she said, so their judgment has some weight.

Her organization put $10,000 into the race and donated labor, with the aim of turning Rollin' on the River into a signature annual event for the city, not unlike the Fargo Marathon.

A total of 235 racers showed up this year. That's less than the near 400 that race organizers had projected, but Rygg said she's comfortable with turnout, given that it's a first year.

For drivers impacted by detours and street closures, things appear to have gone just about as smoothly as possible, according to Melanie Parvey, a city employee and volunteer operations chairwoman for the marathon. For all the traffic delayed, the city got three written complaints, and there were reports of some verbal complaints from drivers.


Race organizers decided to hold the event in the heart of the city to make it as much a part of the community as possible, Parvey said, rather than hold it at the edge of town, as is the case with some other inline marathons. The model here, she said, is the Fargo Marathon, which has been embraced by the community there.


Many of the racers who turned up in the morning Aug. 27 came from out of town, including Manitoba and the Duluth area, which have their own longstanding inline marathons; Montana; other parts of North Dakota and the Twin Cities area.

According to race results, more than half of the 208 racers who finished came from out of town. Nearly 40 percent came from outside the Grand Forks region altogether. Twenty-seven didn't finish, and their names and hometowns weren't listed.

Rygg said the CVB hasn't calculated the economic impact of the event, though doing so would include an estimate of how many family members and friends came with the racers. Those supporters were evident along the course, she said.

Altogether, donations and in-kind support were probably worth about $100,000, event founder Laura Jelinek has estimated. She was traveling abroad and wasn't available for comment this week.

Wellness goals

Though those that came from Grand Forks and East Grand Forks wouldn't have as much of an economic impact, Rygg said they're still good news for community wellness.


Area residents who finished the race ranged from 8 years old to 70 years old. The Park District, Altru Health System and UND's Wellness Center were major sponsors of the event.

To increase turnout next year, Rygg said she expects organizers will advertise much earlier in Winnipeg -- they started around June this year -- and encourage more participation from the local business community.

Traffic glitch

Parvey said traffic control could use improvements as well, learning from this year's experience. One glitch, she said, was a part of South Washington Street that was blocked.

The intent had been to let drivers through when there were no skaters around, she said, but police ended up not being able to do so, though she's not sure why.

The last minute detour the city came up with was a bit confusing, she said, and would be better managed next time.

Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send email to ttran@gfherald.com .

What To Read Next
Get Local