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Monument marathon celebrates five years
May 13, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
For five years, the Platte Valley Companies Monument Marathon has been bringing runners from around the world to the valley.
Organizers announced last week they will add a 5K and host both races on Saturday, Sept. 24.

“People from all over the United States and around the world come to see our community,” said Hod Kosman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Platte Valley Companies. “They experience the beauty of the area and the friendliness of the people.
Comments from the runners have been very complimentary of what we’re able to do, and we’re proud to showcase the community.”

Kosman said five years of growing the marathon is a real tribute to the volunteers and sponsors who make the run possible. It takes about 250 volunteers to coordinate the event, which has averaged about 500 runners each year.

The route for the marathon (26.1 miles) and half-marathon (13.1 miles), with both races starting at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, gives a panoramic view of the valley, including the finish at the Scotts Bluff National Monument.

“In this our fifth year, we added an additional course,” said Jennifer Rogers, foundation director of both Western Nebraska Community College, and the race. “We’re offering our first 5K run, which will allow for even more participation from people who aren’t quite ready for a full marathon.”

Lesley Gaunt, a Parks ranger at the Monument, said feedback from runners has been overwhelmingly positive. Runners like the course, the hospitality of local residents, and the scenery, with the Scotts Bluff National Monument, a key draw, at the center of it. “We’ve been pleased to have the marathon wind around the monument,” Gaunt said. “Part of the route goes along the same path taken by the emigrants who travelled west. Plus, it’s good to see some of the runners come back to visit us after the event.”

The Monument Marathon raises funds for the WNCC Foundation, which supports students, programs and facilities at the college. Thus far, the foundation has raised more than $200,000 for scholarships to students in need.

John Seiler will run in his fifth marathon this fall. “I’ve run in 18 marathons and ran in Boston last year,” he said. “This is a special race in every aspect, whether it’s hot or cold. It’s amazing to run down from the Wildcat Hills and see the valley. This is one of the most beautiful locations for a marathon. This is a very challenging course which winds through some breathtaking views.”

Seiler said he earned his nursing degree from WNCC. So, he’s always ready to help out wherever he can.

The Platte Valley Companies Monument Marathon is sanctioned and certified by the USA Track and Field Association for both full-marathon and half-marathon.

For more information and training guidance, and to register, visit monumentmarathon.com. Registration prices increase starting on June 1.
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