Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Begins This Weekend
A weekend of fun running events for children and adults is how you can describe the 5th Annual Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon.
“To hear people talk about the Blue Ox like it’s kind of a staple here, it’s kind of a thing, to make sure it became Bemidji’s own event,” said Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Director Philip Knutson.
The goal is to make runners feel like they’re a part of Bemidji no matter where they come from. Runners represent 26 states and three Canadian provinces.
“We try and get them downtown to the businesses, restaurants and etc.,” said Knutson. “We just try and get them to see and be a part of the whole community while they’re here.”
The biggest difference this year is what will greet runners as they cross the start and finish line.
“A big blue inflatable arch with the blue ox horns on them,” said Knutson.
Of the nearly 1,300 participants, everyone will go home with a shirt and a medal.
“Everybody seems to be out there for a different purpose and that’s kind of neat,” said Knutson. “Overcoming something, it was a goal, it was a bucket-list or checklist item.”
All of the races start and finish at the Sanford Center, including a 26K that loops around the lake and a kids course. Paul and Babe will await runners as they make their way.
“The full marathon now leaves the Sanford Center and actually will go over the walking bridge on the trail, through downtown, it’ll head north on Beltrami,” said Knutson. “Then on 15th, it’ll go all the way across the highway and then back towards town on the trail.”
In past years, runners have dealt with rain, wind and cold temperatures. The cold can be helpful during endurance long runs. We’ll see who will be named the champion.
Click here to see the runner’s guide (PDF) for the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Weekend.