|Monument Marathon hits the road in September|
|June 11, 2015 Jerry Purvis|
The Monument Marathon, a tradition of autumn in the valley, is returning for its fourth running on Saturday, Sept. 20.
Last year, 474 runners came from around the country to compete in the full-marathon and half-marathon events that take participants through some of the more beautiful parts of the local community.
Scotts Bluff National Monument serves as a focal point as the course traverses from the Wildcat Hills to the south, across the Plains of western Nebraska and through historic Mitchell Pass.
Both runners and walkers are welcome to take the challenge of the varying course, which covers 26.2 miles or 13.1 miles of gorgeous scenery.
In 2013, the Monument Marathon was presented with the Outstanding Event Award by the Nebraska Tourism Commission. And both marathons are sanctioned and certified by the USA Track and Field Association.
“This is one of the premiere events in our community,” said Hod Kosman, CEO of Platte Valley Companies, the marathon’s title sponsor. “It gives us a great opportunity to showcase the beauty of our region and allows us to bring people to the community to experience the friendliness of the people we have here.”
Several alumni of past Monument Marathons also spoke about their involvement in the event. Justin Shaddick teaches at Scottsbluff High School and said he’s still new to the sport, but found real enjoyment in running a course through a beautiful part of Nebraska.
Tiann Colwell said she’s competed in several marathons, but with a child expected this fall, she plans to volunteer this year before getting back on the course.
Physical therapist Carl Baird said the Monument Marathon was his first time back after years of not running. After running the half-marathon his first year, he went the distance with the full-marathon the next year.
Local attorney Tom Holyoke said he’s proof you don’t to be young to run in a marathon. “I’ve competed in the last two half-marathons for the challenge. You’re never too old to face a challenge. This gives me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.”
All the past runners had great things about how well the race is organized and they look forward to this year.
People get involved in many ways – from running to helping set up or cheering the runners along the course. For those who would like to participate, the event website is monumentmarathon.com. The site has Google 3-D maps of the course and runners can register online. Also check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/monumentmarathon.
In conjunction with the event, the Monument Marathon Expo is going on Sept. 25 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Gering Civic Center. Marathon sponsors and other local organizations and attractions will be on hand to share what’s available for visitors to the area.
The marathon is a fundraising event for the scholarship program at Western Nebraska Community College. “We all understand the economic impact the college has on our community,” said Jennifer Rogers, chairman of the WNCC Foundation and race director. “The foundation is committed to making sure all students, no matter their income level, have access to a quality education. Because of this event, we’ve raised about $150,000 so far to support scholarships.”
“We encourage everyone to participate,” Kosman said. “Whether you are a runner or a volunteer, or want to cheer on the runners, there is a job for everyone of every age. Only by working together can we continue to hold such a successful event.”
He also urged drivers to be extra careful as many runners will be on the roads training for the fall event.