Big turnout expected for Grand Forks half marathonMore than 1,200 runners have registered for the Wild Hog Half Marathon in Grand Forks at the end of this month, far exceeding organizers’ expectations. “We were hoping for 800 participants,” said Rachel Hellyer, a race organizer. “It’s a nice surprise.”
By: By Brandi Jewett , Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
More than 1,200 runners have registered for the Wild Hog Half Marathon in Grand Forks at the end of this month, far exceeding organizers’ expectations.
“We were hoping for 800 participants,” said Rachel Hellyer, a race organizer. “It’s a nice surprise.”
And she said she expects “quite a few more” runners will register. “We have a lot of procrastinators in this neck of the woods.”
In early May, less than 30 were registered for the Sept. 29 race.
Those registered so far hail from 19 states, four Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico.
Race Director Richard Dafoe said he hopes to see participants from every state next year.
Registration will remain open until the day of the event, though registration fees do increase as race day gets closer.
Races included in the event are a half marathon, a wheelchair half marathon, half marathon relays, 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer runs, and a family fun run on Sept. 28.
Local bands and a “kids zone” will provide entertainment during the race.
Runners will follow a course winding through Grand Forks and East Grand Forks neighborhoods and parks.
They’ll begin at Wild Hog restaurant at South Washington Street and 47th Avenue South. Then, they’ll head north on Belmont Road, take a loop through Lincoln Drive Park, cross the Red and Red Lake rivers, pass through downtown East Grand Forks and Grand Forks before turning south again on Chestnut Street.
Originally, a majority of the marathon’s course was on the Greenway, but local runners advised against leaving it there, Dafoe said. “There, you’re isolated from spectators and the community,” he said. “It’s daunting, especially if you’re new to the area or it’s your first race.”
By moving the race to the street, Hellyer said she hopes to see neighborhood residents come out of their homes and cheer on the runners.
Technology will play a major role in the event. Runners will have their times monitored by ChronoTrack Systems. Under the system, runners register and receive tags that they place on their shoes.
Once the tag comes in contact with a timing mat, the runner’s time is recorded. This information can be sent to the runner’s social media accounts and to cell phones, announcing his or her progress to family and friends who can’t be there to cheer in person.
Hellyer said the technology is relatively new to the area, but is used in large marathons such as those held in New York City and Boston.
On the Web: To register or to get more info: www.GFMarathon.com. To see a video of the race course: youtu.be/
Brandi Jewett is a reporter
at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.