ELY – Just three weeks ago, Ely Marathon organizer Wendy Lindsay conceded that COVID-19 will determine whether or not the popular running event here will take place. She was right.
ELY – Just three weeks ago, Ely Marathon organizer Wendy Lindsay conceded that COVID-19 would determine whether or not the popular running event would take place. She was right.
“It is with great sadness that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ely Marathon, Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon, Dorothy Molter Root Beer Run and the Northern Lights Glow Run 5k are canceled for 2020,” she announced in a press release early Friday morning. “We are saddened for the loss this brings to the running community, the city of Ely, and the many businesses that benefit from this event.”
The Sept. 25-26 event is scheduled to resume in September 2021.
After meeting with Minnesota race directors and state officials this past week, Lindsay received clarification that the maximum number participants in outdoor races is limited to 25 people.
“That includes all racers, staff, volunteers and spectators,” she said.
Last year’s Ely Marathon and 5K run had about a thousand total runners. More than 600 full and half-marathon runners were registered for this year, according to Lindsay.
The Father’s Day weekend running of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth was canceled this year because of the coronavirus, and many other area sports and community events have also been scrapped this summer.
“We understand that a lot of what makes the Ely Marathon and Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon special is the beauty of running in the woods along with the special perks and amazing community support,” Lindsay added. “We realize these attributes are impossible to transfer to a virtual race. That being said, all registrations and sponsorships for the 2020 Ely Marathon and Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon have automatically been transferred to 2021.”
However, all is not lost for area runners this fall. The Northern Lights Glow Run 5K, hosted by the Northern Lights Clubhouse, an organization supporting mental wellness in the area, will be conducting a virtual running event fundraiser.
“The race is a large and needed fundraiser for the organization,” Lindsay said. “Consider joining their virtual 5K race this year to help support this worthy cause.”
For more information, call 218-365-7843 or go online to northernlights5kglowrun.itsyourrace.com/.
Lindsay added that registration is open for the 2021 Ely Marathon.
“Get a head start and begin your training now,” she said.
Any new registrations made by Sept. 1 will receive an Ely Marathon commemorative fleece, she said.
The full 26.2-mile marathon that starts on the Echo Trail and winds through the north woods into the middle of town, finishing at Whiteside Park, is just part of a weekend of festivities. Race day includes a 13.1-mile half-marathon. And Ely’s own canoe portage division, where runners race while carrying canoes, was to be a popular feature again this year.
“The male and female winners of both the full and half marathons would have won fully-outfitted canoe trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters for six days and three days, respectively,” she said. “And Northstar Canoes was again offering a canoe to the fastest finisher in the portage division.”
More information about the 2021 event can be found online at www.elymarathon.com.