This Saturday marks one of the last opportunities in Michigan for runners to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The 5th Annual Marquette Half-Marathon, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, will kick off August 30 at 9 a.m. at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee. “We have seen a rise in participation this year," said Jeri Mommaerts, director for the Marquette Marathon. "In the last four years, we have continued to see a steady rise in runners interested in this particular race because the trails in Marquette are beautiful and great to run through”. Mommaerts says that she has only heard positive feedback about the race’s course, and that people are coming from all over the country to participate. “About 50 percent of the registered participants are from Michigan, 37 percent from Marquette, 7 percent from Detroit, 5 percent from Lansing, 2 percent from Flint. The rest of the runners come from 35 different states and four different countries.” Mommaerts believes that the biggest draw for people is not only that this race can qualify runners for bigger races, but the scenery, weather conditions, and low impact trails make it an enjoyable course. “I think more people are interested in our race because the trail is mostly downhill and the decline makes for a nice low-impact run," says Mommaerts. "This race is great if you’re just starting out or if you’re a pro. The full marathon is for experienced runners who want to test their endurance, while the half provides enough of a challenge to push yourself, but because of the declines in the trail, you won’t have to strain yourself.” She adds, “The beauty of the landscape throughout the trail will help you keep your focus. There is enough scenery to ‘get in the zone’, and block everything else out”. Aside from the full and half marathon, there is the Kid Fun Run that features two races. The half mile “Pebble Run” is open to kids 11 years old and younger that starts at 7 p.m. The 5k “Rock Skipper Run is open to kids 17 and under and starts at 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in testing your endurance and want to sign up for this race, there is still time. Visit the Marquette Marathon Race website, here, for more information. Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan
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