by Mike Nistler
The Fifth Annual We Walk! Marathon, Half and 50K began and ended May 18 in St. Joseph.
The event drew competitors from as far away as Canada, Kansas City and the upper Midwest, said race co-organizor Bruce Leasure of St. Paul. The other co-organizor, Dave Daubert of Watertown, founded the race, which was the first walking marathon in the nation.
The 83 participants could choose to walk the marathon course, which began in Melrose, or the half-marathon course, which started in Albany. Or they could race-walk, Nordic-walk (with ski poles) or walk/run. Participants gathered in St. Joseph and bused to the various starting lines.
Daubert knows a thing or two about marathons. He’s competed in more than 100 such races, including races in all 50 states and on every continent except Africa.
Philip Rogosheske was the first participant to cross the half marathon finish line in 3:55:18.
Leasure said the course would remain open for as long as nine hours to allow those walking the marathon course to finish. He said every effort is made to make every participant feel like a champion even if they are the last ones to finish.
The Lake Wobegon Trail was chosen for the event because organizers want to make it as walker-friendly as possible. The course follows an old railroad bed through rural farmlands, woods, marshes and, of course, a few of the state’s 10,000 lakes.
The event is held annually on the third Saturday of May. Participants spent the night before the event at the College of St. Benedict.
Buzz and Kathy Snyder, Sauk Rapids, were two local people taking part in the half-marathon course. They finished in a time of under three hours and ran about 20 percent of the course.
For more information on the event go to www.walkonMN.org/marathon.