Monument Marathon achieves second highest number of runners

This year’s Monument Marathon brought in 536 registered runners., the second highest number in the event’s eight year history. In addition to showcasing the area’s beautiful scenery, the event raised funds to offer scholarship opportunities for students attending Western Nebraska Community College.

GERING — With 536 participants, the 2019 Platte Valley Companies Monument Marathon registered its second highest number of runners in the run’s eight year history. It continues to impress people who come to take on the marathon, half-marathon and 5K distances.

“I thought this was an awesome event,” wrote one runner on the marathon website. “This was my 6th marathon and I thought it was very well run. The expo was great, the course was great, the aid stations were spot on and everyone was extremely friendly.”

Race coordinator Jennifer Reisig said the feedback she’s received has been very positive for every area of the event and how it was organized, including the area’s beautiful scenery.

“Many of the participants that have run in marathons all across the country but this was their first time here,” Reisig said. “They told us this was one of the favorite marathons they’ve ever done.”

In addition to local runners, others came from Maryland, New York City, California and across the region.

Another runner, who has run events across the country, said that while the Monument Marathon was a smaller event, it was among the top events.

“Everyone was so nice and everyone said thank you for coming to our town,” the runner wrote on the website. “It was very special.”

The Monument Marathon started eight years ago with marathon and half-marathon distances. A 5K run was added a few years later for runners in shorter distance events.

Starting in 2020, a new event will be added. Reisig described it as a half-marathon (13 mile) relay for three runners.

The exchange points will be at the beginning and end of the canal road on the course. Runners will be bused to the exchange points and the relay starts at 8 a.m., the same time as the 5K run.

Next year’s Monument Marathon is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, and runners can start registering this November.

“We have a number of locals and those from other areas who have run the marathon a number of times and come back every year to run,” Reisig said. “We wanted to offer something a little different. If a runner brings a family member that doesn’t want to run 13 or 26 miles; this is an opportunity to participate in a shorter distance.”

Reisig said 5K is a great event for shorter distance runners and walkers, but the course doesn’t take in much of the back country around the monument.

“All three legs of the half-marathon relay partly go around the monument,” she said. “We’ve received so many comments on how beautiful the course is, so the relay runners can see it as well.”

Reisig said the relay also offers the team element as people put together three-person teams and invite their friends to join them for a morning run.

“We appreciate the many sponsors and volunteers that make the annual marathon possible,” Reisig said. “But I can’t overlook the importance of our emergency safety personnel and law enforcement agencies that keep the runners safe. They’re our eyes and ears on the course and we’re so grateful to have that support from the communities.”

The Monument Marathon is a fundraising event for the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation to provide scholarship assistance to students in need to continue their education.

Reisig said the final totals for the 2019 event won’t be ready until mid-November, but the event usually raises about $50,000 each year for the WNCC Foundation.

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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