Bringing The Marathon Home

Inside a room the Wild Hog Smokehouse, with its rich wood interior and hunger-inducing aromas, a crowd gathered on Sunday afternoon.

At times, the line stretched into the dining room, with runners eager to sign up during the registration kick-off event for Wild Hog Weekend.

The scene represents the Grand Forks Marathon’s success story.

As the Grand Cities’ running scene continues to grow, more and more people are embracing the sport, sharing their stories about how it is transforming their lives and making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

That’s the power and influence of a well-organized event that appeals to the masses by providing a fun and friendly race weekend.

And this year is no ordinary year.

For the past 4 years, the half marathon has been the marquee event during the autumnal Wild Hog Weekend — with the popularity of the 10K, 5K and kids race all adding to the excitement.

Now, though, Wild Hog Weekend will include its inaugural marathon in a city steeped in marathon history.

After all, Grand Forks hosted the North Dakota Marathon, the state’s first 26.2-mile race, starting in 1972. After a drought lasting more than 3 decades, the marathon is back home, where it began.

This year, those signing up for the inaugural marathon by July 31 will receive a commemorative jacket as a registration perk.

Many showing up for Sunday’s registration party pledged their commitment to run 26.2 miles on Sept. 24. Some chose to register for the Wild Hog Challenge — an opportunity to run the 5K on Friday night and one of the longer distances the following day.

In addition, the race committee announced major donations to three local groups. The race issued over-sized checks representing $10,000 each to Grand Forks Parks and Recreation Foundation, Grand Forks Foundation for Education and Grand Forks YMCA Partner of Youth Fund.

To learn more about race weekend, check out the new website for the Grand Forks Marathon.