Five things to know about this weekend's Med City Marathon events
Memorial Day Weekend is finally upon us, and for the past 21 years, that has also meant the Med City Marathon events in Rochester.
Whether you're running one of the events, watching a family member compete or just spectating and enjoying the festivities, here's what you need to know about this weekend's events.
1) The course isn't the same as last year
Based on runner requests, Wally Arnold, the race co-director, decided to return to some of runners' favorite areas from various courses over the years. Much of the first half of the race will be the same: Runners will start in Byron and run the first six miles toward Rochester on Country Club Road before wrapping around Cascade Lake. From there, marathoners will cut through Quarry Hill Park, wind through town to the Mayowood area and then finish at Mayo Civic Center, while half marathoners cut straight to the finish.
2) There's something for all ages
Saturday afternoon's events are all about fun and fitness for the whole family. Participants in the kids' marathon can log their final 1.2 miles at 12:30 p.m. on a course that starts outside the civic center and runs along the Zumbro River. Kids will run in heats according to grade level, with upper grades running first.
Next on the docket is the mascot race at 1:15 p.m., followed by a short Diaper Dash for kids age 6 months to 23 months and a 50-yard Toddler Trot for kids age 2 to 5. The kids' play zone is also open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside of Mayo Civic Center. There's a 5K run/walk for all ages at 5 p.m.
3) ... And all abilities
The most popular race of the weekend is the half marathon (13.1 miles), but there is also a marathon relay (each participant runs 6 - 7 miles each) and, of course, the marathon. All of Saturday's running events start at 7 a.m. in Byron near the elementary school. Runners can take a free shuttle bus from Mayo Civic Center to the starting line. Checked gear bags will be delivered to the finish line.
4) Local runners will rule the weekend
According to Arnold, last year's men's marathon winner and Rochester resident, Jim Onigkeit, is back for more, as are past local winners Ron Giles and Mary Chestolowski.
If you see runners carrying signs with finish times, give them an extra cheer because they're a member of the TerraLoco Pace Team. These volunteers will shepherd runners in the half marathon and marathon to the finish line within a minute of their goal time, all while maintaining a metronome-like pace and a positive attitude. Runners don't have to sign up for pace groups. Rather, they can find pacers by their colorful signs in the starting corral or join the pack along the course.
That said, Arnold is making special accommodations for Twin Cities runners who were left high and dry when the Minneapolis Marathon was canceled at the last minute earlier this week. Registration won't be capped, and runners who were registered for that race can use a $10 discount code for the Med City events.
5) The festivities don't end when runners cross the finish line
The post-race party starts rolling as soon as runners make their way to Mayo Civic Center, and continues until 2 p.m. There's free beer (for runners) and live music, organized and served by members of local running club Team R.E.D. Be sure to pick up a wristband during the expo!
Full schedule of events
All Saturday events will be at Mayo Civic Center Exhibit Hall, 30 Civic Center Dr, Rochester, MN
10:00am – 7:00pm - Med City Fitness Expo and packet pick-up
10:00am – 7:00pm - Race packet pick-up
10:00am – 5pm - Kids Play Zone
12:30pm - Med City Kids’ Marathon
1:15pm - Mascot Races
1:45pm - Diaper Dash
2:00pm - Toddler Trot
3:00pm - Ronald McDonald Family Walk
5:00pm - 5K run/walk
5:30pm - Happy Hour with FREE beer! You must have a wristband for the free beer. Wristbands can be picked up at the expo.
6:15pm - 5K Awards
5:20am – 6:25am - Busses from Rochester to start in Byron~ Shuttle pick up is at the corner of 1st Street SE & 1st Avenue SE. The last bus leaves Rochester at 6:25am
5:30am – 6:45am – Race Day packet pick up Byron Elementary School
7:00am - Med City Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay, 20 Mile
8:00am – 1:30pm - Finish Line, Mayo Civic Center
9:00am - 2:00pm - Kids Play Zone
9:00am - 12:30pm - Post race music. Band TBD
10:15am - Half marathon awards
10:30am – 2:00pm - Post Race Party! FREE beer! You must have a wristband for the free beer. Wristbands can be picked up at the expo
12:30pm - Marathon awards
About Claire Walling: Claire is a contributing editor for the Med City Beat. She moved to Rochester two years ago from the Twin Cities after graduating from Hamline University. When she’s not working as a business writer she enjoys running the great trails around the region, designing and creating things, and drinking coffee. Fun fact: she was on a relay team that ran across Iowa in 54 hours. Twitter.
(Cover photo courtesy Med City Marathon)