This year’s Morgan Valley Marathon was a huge success.
Runners from all over have been training all year for this event, so organizers made every effort to ensure that it is a positive experience for everyone involved.
This scenic run got its beginnings two years ago as part of a commemoration of the Morgan County Fair’s 100 year anniversary. Tara Lowe moved to Morgan County seven years ago. She was an avid runner but had no one to run with in her area. She finally convinced her friend Liz Donaldson to train for a marathon. Heidi Eriksson, Wanda Adams and Janet Pace later joined the running group. The group had talked about how fun it would be if there was a local marathon to participate in, but no real action was taken until Kim Turner joined in the discussion.
Turner is known county-wide as kind of a superwoman. If you want to make sure something will happen, she’s your girl. At the time the event was organized, Turner wasn’t even a runner. But this year she completed a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon.
Lowe commented on how much she loves to see participation increase each year. “It has never been about the money. We donate much of what we earn to different causes each year. But what really brings me joy is seeing people in my community use this local event to get out and be active,” beamed Lowe.
Worthy causes are sponsored each year. Proceeds from this year’s run went to help pay costly medical expenses for 6-year-old Beckam Robinson, who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Extra funds will be donated to the fund for the Keven Clemens family. The event organizers also like to award a scholarship to a worthy Morgan High School student.
The event began with a pasta dinner that is free to participants to help them “carb-up” for their runs. This is also where the runners would pick up their bib numbers, shirts and swag bags. On the way out, there was a great expo where you could pick up anything from energy drinks to marathon branded merchandise.
Volunteers are vital to the success of any marathon. Lowe said, “We love to see all the local residents come out and enjoy the event with us. Each aid station is set up by Morgan residents who get out of their homes and cheer on runners. It is heartwarming to see such an outpouring of support.”
There is a contest with a $200 reward for the best aid station as voted on by the runners. There is also a prize of $100 that goes to the 100th person to cross the finish line. Endurance is tested on every level in the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. Runners at every level of ability run these races. This year, Doug, the last person to cross the finish line, participated in the full marathon. He and his wife sold their home and have been RVers ever since. They stopped in Morgan just to run this race. His wife patiently sat in the stands in her yellow rain jacket for six hours waiting for her husband’s triumphant finish.
Lowe happily related this story and added, “The person who finishes last ran the same 26 miles as the person who finished first. It isn’t about the time it takes you.”
One family from Texas said that they have run in over 300 marathons and this scenic run is by far their favorite. Many other runners felt the same way.
So if you have never participated in this event before, now is the perfect time to begin training for next year’s race. The run is incredibly well organized and the beautiful scenery and incredible workout you get is worth every sore muscle that may follow.