Did you know Boundary Waters Connect is an official sponsor of the 2022 Ely Marathon? In addition to financial support for the Marathon, a group of Boundary Waters Connect volunteers will greet and support full marathon runners as they pass by mile 16 on the Cloquet line.
This year the Ely Marathon anticipates 800 runners in the full and half marathon races on Saturday, September 24. The Ely Marathon will also host 300 participants in the community 5K color glow run, which will take place the Friday night before the big show. The events are supported by more than 350 volunteers, and the community can expect around 3000 spectators to be in town that weekend. Wow!
We had a chance to connect with Wendy Lindsay, owner of Stone Soup Events and organizer of the Ely Marathon. Keep reading for highlights from our conversation:
BWC: What is your favorite thing about the Ely Marathon? Or, in other words, what compels you to oversee the work of coordinating it (which is certainly no small feat!)?
WL: There are a lot of things I love about the marathon. I think the biggest one is how it brings everyone together from the community – and in a healthy, energy charged, exciting way. Everyone is so happy and supportive on that day. It has allowed me to meet and work with so many people that I wouldn't have otherwise had the chance to. It also brings together every single age group and demographic. We have over 350 volunteers every year - young kids, college students, businesses, retired folks, groups from the Twin Cities - it is awesome! One additional thing that has been really awesome is seeing all of the locals who run the race – people who wouldn't otherwise run or participate in a race.
BWC: How would you say the Ely Marathon impacts or contributes to the Ely-area economy?
WL: We created the marathon to take place in the "off season" to bring people to the area during a time that would usually not be super busy. It also contributes to over 75 local businesses and groups. We rent porta potties, tents, tables, buy food, merch, and work with many other businesses. We also work with tons of clubs and groups in the area to help them raise money such as fundraisers during the race weekend, as well as pay for race support during the race, etcetera.
BWC: What is your vision for the future of the Ely Marathon?
WL: Our goal is to have 2000 runners (for the full and half marathon) within the next three years. We would like to be able to have as much of an economic impact on the area as possible. We attend a ton of other races and venues, with a booth to help advertise our beautiful area – again with the intention of reminding folks of all that Ely has to offer. We hope to continue to bring the community together and make a positive impact as well as showcase the fun that is had in events that take place in the great outdoors.
Cheers to that! Thank you to Wendy Lindsay and the whole Ely Marathon team for hosting such a positive and impactful event in our community.
For more information about the Ely Marathon and a full list of events for spectators and runners alike, check out www.elymarathon.com.