BANCROFT - What began as a flippant remark has become "not your ordinary" annual event in Bancroft.
Resident Kelly Rowlet, an avid walker, was often asked what she was doing when she was out walking.
"It started as a joke," she says. "I told my husband, 'The next time, I'm going to tell them I'm going to walk a marathon in Bancroft.' And I did, then other people got interested."
The impromptu Bancroft marathon last year had 172 participants.
"It was unplanned, but it was so much fun," Rowlet said. "We had T-shirts and coolers of water set up in people's yards. People could take a break, and we had t.p. for our finish line."
The route is six loops around Bancroft, which equals the 26.2-mile length of a marathon. The only rule in Bancroft is that there are no rules.
"You can do what you want," Rowlet said. "You can walk it, run it, bike it. Last year, we did it on a random Monday, and we had everyone from all-American triathletes to a 92-year-old man participate. We had one woman who was determined to finish it completely, and she did just a little before midnight. But there were several breaks in there."
This year's "Not Your Ordinary Marathon" will be Thursday, June 13, with registration in the city park at 8 a.m.
"Registration is absolutely free," Rowlet said. "This year, we're having some kids events. We also have some spa packages to give away."
Other businesses also are getting involved, with gift bags offered to the first 10 participants who complete the marathon, with other "basket full of Bancroft" grand prize drawings occurring throughout the day.
"All anyone has to do to qualify is come down and sign up for the marathon," Rowlet said. "This is just an opportunity to showcase how nice and clean our town is and all of the unique businesses we have here. There's no cause other than Bancroft being a great town."
For more information on the "Not Your Ordinary Marathon," call Rowlet at (515) 341-5537.