With less than a week to go, Marathon and half marathon runners are turning out well for the five-day, five event, five-state Center of the Nation Marathon Series headquartered in Belle Fourche for the event that runs Monday, Sept. 16 through Friday, Sept. 20.
Clint Burleson, organizer for the event, listed more than 200 marathoners for each of the five days on the event’s web site.
The nationally-recognized series begins Sept. 16 in North Dakota. It continues with three days headquartered in Belle Fourche for one-a-day runs in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Runners then head to Chadron for the Nebraska run Sept. 20.
The series is part of a trend for marathoners to try to run in all 50 states. Burleson said that Belle Fourche makes an ideal central point.
Burleson said there’s no time limit, no runner will be left behind, and that walkers are welcome.
The North Dakota run has 149 marathon runners registered and 63 half-marathon runners registered for the event.
The three days headquartering in Belle Fourche begins with the South Dakota run on the RiverWalk. There are 147 marathoners and 64 half marathoners registered as of Sept. 7.
Still headquartered in Belle Fourche, the Sept. 18 Wyoming run has 159 people registered for the full marathon and 65 half marathon runners registered. The Montana leg Sept. 19 has 133 marathoners and 65 half marathon runners registered.
The Chadron finale for Nebraska has 136 marathon and 67 half marathon runners registered.
In Belle Fourche, Burleson said the course along the bike and walking path course has some advantages for runners and spectators alike.
“RiverWalk is entirely off the roads and no traffic to worry about,” he said. “It’s beautiful here, and we’re going to be starting just north of the visitor center and the race will run down there through the avenue of flags.”
“The back deck at the chamber will be just perfect,” he said. “You will be able to watch runners in every direction and the finish line will be right out from the chamber’s deck.”
Burleson credits Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce executive Teresa Schanzenbach with helping to get the series organized in Belle Fourche and helping gain support of area law enforcement agencies.
Runners come from most states in the U.S. and some are international runners who see marathons in the U.S. as an opportunity to see new parts of the world while pursuing their running goals.
It’s an expensive hobby to try to run as many marathons in as many states as possible, Burleson said.
“But it does encourage people to exercise, to eat properly with good nutrition,” he said. “It can’t be too terrible when the top runners are all in their mid 60s and older.”
Number 1 American marathoner for quantity is Jim Simpson from California.
“He hit 1,000 marathons on January 1, 2013, the first North American to do that,” Burleson said. “He is 70 and he looks more like he’s about 50.”
Burleson said he has one concern about the marathon series.
“We have nobody from Montana,” he said.
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source: Butte County Post By Milo Dailey