INDICE DE GALERIAS
MASON CITY, Iowa - After 15 years, and at times being held in weather much less pleasant than we saw on Sunday, the Newman Knights', ‘On the Road for Education' marathon celebrated its final lap around Mason City this morning.
More than 300 runners took part in the races, many of them from across the country, and for those running in the marathon, they used this race as a qualifier for other races like the Boston Marathon.
“I'm getting ready for next year for Boston. I've already qualified and I’m going back again,” said Grant Stieglitz, this morning’s first place winner for the full marathon.
Stieglitz is working to complete marathons in all 50 states, and while he doesn't plan to win the Boston Marathon, he certainly isn't a stranger to taking home the first place trophy.
"This year I’ve won six, but over all this was my ninth,” he said.
While this morning focused on the start of a race, it marked the end of an era.
Race director Gary Schmit says he's sad to see the races cross the finish line but he's mostly sympathetic to the runners who are losing one of their favorite courses.
"We kind of heard that today,” Schmit said, “a lot of them are sad that this is the last time we're running this race because they've really enjoyed it.”
Ed Robins certainly enjoyed his time on the course.
Robins is a runner from Pennsylvania who was shocked to hear that this race is coming to an end.
"It's funny because all the reviews are so positive,” Robins said, “I was shocked to hear that they were discontinuing it but too bad, and running it, it's obvious why it's a well-respected race."
He says, he wishes he could have the chance to run its unique route again
"Just about the time I was getting bored with the farmland we turned and then we'd run along the creek and through the forest and whatnot so, I love it when a course changes like that."
It will continue to change.
Even though this is the end of an era, it's the start of something new.
Race coordinators say they're not giving up on races for the Mason City area and that they’re planning on transferring their knowledge toward putting together a Slippery Saints Mud Run that will take place next August.
The top female finisher in the full marathon is a Titonka native, Danielle Kurtzleben, now of Washington DC.
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