2023 Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Underway with Highest Attendance Ever
The Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon is celebrating its 11th year this weekend. Volunteers and organizers prepared for the marathon so that participants could pick up their race packets for Friday and Saturday’s events.
The main focus of Friday’s preparations was to make sure the participants, volunteers, and people of the Bemidji community had an enjoyable time while at the marathon this year.
“A lot of fun, a lot of fun stories, a lot of people reaching their goals of whatever it might be. A lot of positivity, a lot of smiles.” said Blue Ox Marathon director Philip Knutson.
The number of people taking part in the event have has increased over the years, but this year, there will be nearly 1,300 people running in the marathon, a record.
“This is actually our biggest numbers ever,” Knutson said. “Especially with our Saturday events, with the Twin Cities [Marathon] being canceled, we not only reached our cap, but then we reached out to runners asking if they knew if they weren’t going to make it … and filled all of those spots as well, so we’re looking to have less no-shows as well this year.”
The 1/2K & 1K kids fun run began Friday at 4:20 PM and was held outside the Country Inn & Suites on Lake Shore Drive, next to the Sanford Center. The 5K run/walk and 10K run/walk began at 5:00 PM. Winners of the 5K runs were Ephraim Bervig from Park Rapids for the men and Andrea Nelson out of Bemidji for the women. In the 10K run, Ryan Rogers of Bemidji was the top men’s finisher, and for the women it was Tara Entringer of Akeley.
On Saturday, doors will open at 7:00 AM, where packets will be passed out. The Be Active! Expo will start at 8:00 AM, with the full marathon starting around 8:30 AM and the 26K at around 9:00 AM, along with a half marathon starting at the Paul Bunyan Trail three miles north of the Sanford Center.
More information on the event can be found at the Blue Ox Marathon website.