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Grand Forks Marathon looking to make transition to spring

After going virtual during the pandemic last year, there will be a new 10-mile run along with a 10K and 5K Aug. 27-28. The regular event will resume with a half marathon in April 2022 and will continue to occur in the spring instead of autumn.

Grand Forks Marathon logo.jpg

The Grand Forks Marathon will be switching it up this year and in the future after time lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After going virtual during the pandemic last year , there will be a new 10-mile run along with a 10K and 5K Aug. 27-28. The regular event will resume with a half marathon in April 2022 and will continue to occur in the spring instead of autumn.

“At the moment the fall racing schedule is really saturated. There are now races all over the state since we started a little over 10 years ago and we wanted to do something a little more unique,” race director Rachel Hellyer said.

The plan is to get back to a normal race environment soon, but for now, options are still open in August for those who still wish to participate virtually. Runners that opt for a virtual race will receive a unique medal while staying socially distant.

This option was also kept in, to some extent, due to the uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-Canadian border.

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“There are several of our Canadian friends who are unsure if they will be able to come down,” Hellyer said. “They want to continue to have a virtual option in case they can’t come down and I think it will be standard for the foreseeable future.”

Inside the border, some are still seeking clarity on when they will be back to a normal Grand Forks Marathon experience. Although COVID cases are down in Grand Forks, Hellyer has dealt with hesitancy from runners when committing to register for races.

“It’s challenging. A lot of people are just not sure so they don’t want to register until later. Talking with (Fargo Marathon Executive Director) Mark Knutson, he said the same thing. It’s been really challenging to get people to sign up in advance,” she said.

Not having a clear forecast on what numbers will look like come race time can take a toll on other factors in the production process. Certain equipment needs to be ordered six to eight weeks before the race.

Hellyer says less than 25% of people that do register, do so before that time period.

“Industry-wide, I think that’s what everyone is dealing with right now,” said Hellyer. “I think it’s just going to take a little bit of time.”

For now, the focus shifts to August. Registration is open now on gfmarathon.com for the 10th annual festivities and will close on Aug. 25.

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Related Topics: FARGO MARATHON
Digital Content Producer and Sports Reporter at the Grand Forks Herald since December of 2020. Maxwell can be contacted at mmarko@gfherald.com.
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