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Monument Marathon planned
May 18, 2012 Jerry Purvis    Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen

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Dayle Wallien, executive director of the WNCC Foundation, said entries have already been received from runners in Wisconsin, California, New York, Colorado and around the region.

Marathon runners from across the country are already signing up for the inaugural Monument Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 13.

Platte Valley Companies, the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation, Star-Herald and other partners organized the event primarily to promote healthy lifestyles within the community. An additional benefit is to expose people from around the country to the beauty of western Nebraska and its historic places.

Dayle Wallien, executive director of the WNCC Foundation, said entries have already been received from runners in Wisconsin, California, New York, Colorado and around the region.

The 26.2 mile marathon course starts at the Wildcat Hill Nature Center and takes runners through Gering, around the monument and Mitchell Pass, then back to the finish at Five Rocks Amphitheater. A half marathon will also be on the schedule for shorter distance runners.

“We’re hoping to attract about 300 runners, many from outside the area,” Wallien said. There are only three other marathons in the state, and with our location, we’re in a perfect spot to pull in runners from the Front Range. There’s even a large group who want to run in a marathon in every state.”

Hod Kosman, president and CEO of Platte Valley Companies, said the community is known for organizing top quality events of all varieties. “I’m sure the Monument Marathon will be one of those. And we’re honored to be a major sponsor of this event.”

Kosman said because the area’s unique beauty will be on display for marathon participants, many will likely return with their families for future visits.

Wallien said the event took a lot of planning plus cooperation from the State of Nebraska, Scotts Bluff County, the Cities of Gering and Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff National Monument and the Gering Irrigation District to get the course set.

“It’s very important for a marathon to have a certified course through the USA Track and Field Association,” she said. “If a course isn’t certified, runners can’t use their time to qualify for other marathons that require it, like the Boston Marathon.”

Through the Monument Marathon and its companion WNCC Foundation Fall Frolic on Sept. 22, the events raise funds to continue the college’s mission of offering scholarship assistance to students.

“This will be a signature event the community can look to for years to come to bring many people into our community,” said Howard Olsen, WNCC Foundation board chairman.

Olsen added the foundation exists to make an excellent college even better by helping students struggling with the rising cost of education.

“We want this to be a community event,” Wallien said. “This marathon will need a minimum of 200 volunteers to make this work. And we need community members out there cheering for the runners.”
For more information or to register, visit the website www.monument-marathon.com

To volunteer or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, call Wallien at (308) 630-6551or email racedirector@wncc.edu.
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