MARATHON, Iowa — An Iowa marathon that gained national recognition for its small-town ethos and quirky name will end because of a lack of volunteers and organizers becoming exhausted.
Race director Al Pierce told the Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/2rduT5v ) the Marathon to Marathon will end after Saturday’s event.
The race committee is down to about half its original size, and its members are getting older. There are fewer young families in the area to help, Pierce said.
The race starts in Storm Lake and ends in the small town of Marathon. It began in 1996 as a celebration of Iowa’s 150-year anniversary.
The race is USA Track and Field certified and sanctioned, which allows entrants to be eligible to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
The 15-foot drop in elevation throughout the course “makes it easy on the body,” Pierce said.
Race committee member Andriette Wickstrom has run in the race almost every year. The 62-year-old from Storm Lake has competed in nearly 100 marathons.
“I haven’t taken in the finality of it,” Wickstrom said. “I know when it’s over I will be sad, I just have tried not to think about it.”
A group was interested in taking over the event, but decided not to after learning about the months of planning that goes into creating the marathon, Pierce said.
The final marathon has participants from nearly 40 states, Pierce said.
A spaghetti dinner for runners, supporters and community members will be offered the evening before the start of the race.
“It’s just one of those things that we want to keep going, but it’s time. All good things come to an end at some point in time,” Pierce said. “We are not going to be sad about it, we are going to celebrate it, and do the best job we can.”
Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com