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Monument Marathon ready for second year
June 20, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Jennifer and Sam Malmberg of Colorado, last year’s winners of the Monument Marathon, will return for the second annual event this fall.

Several hundred long distance runners are expected in the area this fall as the second annual Platte Valley Companies Monument Marathon gets underway.

Last year’s inaugural event, which covered the Wildcat Hills and area around the Scotts Bluff National Monument, brought 422 runners from 24 different states.

This year’s marathon is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28 and about 176 runners have registered so far.

Dayle Wallien, foundation director at Western Nebraska Community College, serves as race director. She said the marathon was organized to promote healthful lifestyles, to promote the beautiful scenery of the valley, to bring in tourism dollars and to be a fundraising event for the college foundation. Last year’s event raised more than $45,000 to help educate students at WNCC.

“We’re hoping more people will participate this year,” Wallien said. “A majority of the runners last year were from more than 100 miles away and many brought their families with them.”

Hod Kosman, president and CEO of Platte Valley Companies, said the marathon has become a wonderful community event. “It really shows the spirit of this community and the partnerships we can create. And as we add value to this event over the years, more and more possibilities will come up in the community.”

Wallien said a number of agencies were involved in getting the course approved again this year. Included were National Park Service, Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska Department of Game and Parks, Scotts Bluff County, City of Gering and the Gering Irrigation District.

“We’ve had incredible support from all of these agencies,” Wallien said. “They provided not only approval, but also on-the-ground assistance before the event and on the day of the event. Without that support, this event wouldn’t be possible.”

About 250 volunteers from around the Panhandle helped out in last year’s marathon, making it a true community event. She encouraged interested people to go to their website at monumentmarathon.com for more information and to sign up as a volunteer.

This year, the Road Runners Club of America has designated the half marathon as their Nebraska championship race. The group is the oldest and largest association of running clubs in the country and promote running as a competitive sport.
Sam and Jennifer Malmberg from Colorado were last year’s winners of the full marathon, despite running another marathon the previous week.

Jennifer, a Mitchell native, said she was impressed with every detail of last year’s inaugural Monument Marathon. “It was right up there with the best events I’ve run in,” she said. “To see the
community come together like that was fantastic.”

Sam, who’s from eastern Nebraska, said he fell in love with the area when he and Jennifer lived here after college. “We spent a lot of time hiking when we lived here, so I was happy so see part of the marathon course go through those areas,” he said. “There are some great running trails in Colorado, but it’s special here and we love coming back when we can.”

As part of the marathon weekend, a health expo takes place at WNCC on Sept. 27, sponsored by Scotts Bluff County Tourism. The event is open to the public and businesses can showcase their products and services that support good health.
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