FAIRMONT -- Runners will once again take to the city streets of Fairmont to run and/or walk in the 36th Annual Fairmont Summer Run on Saturday, July 26, at Fairmont High School.
After a few additions to the event last year - the 1/4-mile and 1/2-mile runs for kids- in addition to a new course, the Summer Run had the highest number of entries throughout its history.
This year, the two races make a return, in addition to the traditional 5- and 2-mile runs, and the competitors will race along the same course for a second straight year.
BREAKING AWAY — A handful of young runners attempt to break away from the pack during the quarter-mile competition at Cardinal Track in Fairmont during last year’s 35th Annual Fairmont Summer Run. The annual race returns to Fairmont High School on Saturday, July 26. (Photo courtesy of Fairmont Community Education & Recreation)
The 5-mile competition starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 2-mile run/walk at 9:30 a.m., the 1/4-mile run (for age 9 and under) at 9:55 a.m. and the 1/2-mile run (ages 13 and under) at 10 a.m. The awards program will be held around 10:15 a.m.
Both the 2- and 5-mile races start at Fairmont High School, and the runners will race on sidewalks along Johnson Street before following Albion Avenue for a majority of the course.
The competitors will then turn around at the halfway point and finish at the high school.
With pavement and quiet streets, the course was considered a success after last year's event.
Both the 1/4-mile and 1/2-mile races will be run at the high school on either the practice football field or the track.
"Currently, they are working on resurfacing the track, so we aren't sure whether or not we will be starting and finishing the longer races on the track like we have in the past," said Fairmont cross country and track & field coach Bob Bonk. "We may be starting and finishing on the practice football field, and running the children's races there, too. We will have to see."
Whether the participants lace up running shoes for the competition, for exercise or just for fun, the annual race has continued to grow in popularity and survived a handful of changes.
While the race was first held at Cedar Creek Park in its beginning, the race quickly outgrew the recreational area's parking lot, and the Fairmont Area Runners were hopeful that a new course wouldn't turn people away from the race.
On the contrary, the new course didn't cut into the number of runners that participated, instead last year's races included a record-high 179 participants.
The cost is $12 per adult and $10 a student if runners pre-register before noon on July 25. Runners can either register online at: www.fairmont.k12.mn.us by clicking 'webstore' and then Community Education and Recreation or by filling out an application available at the CER office located at 714 Victoria St. in Fairmont.
To be guaranteed a dri-fit Summer Run T-shirt for either the 2- or 5-mile races, runners must register before Tuesday.
Race-day registration, which begins at 7:30 a.m. and closes 10 minutes prior to each race, in the 2- and 5-mile races will be $15 for both students and adults.
The event is free for kids in both the 1/4- or 1/2-mile race.
Not only can individuals compete in the race if they choose, but there is also a team competition.
A minimum of three runners per team is necessary, and the top-three individual times on the team will be scored.
The team competition is set up for groups: age 19 & under, 20-39, 40 & over and an open team group.
Awards will be given in each age group and gender to the top two runners, in addition to the top two teams in each age group.
With good weather and strong participation, the Fairmont Summer Run could continue to grow in popularity and continue to have a presence in the dog days of summer.