Med-City Marathon Med-City Marathon Top 10 marathon memories

Wally and Peg Arnold founded the Med-City Marathon in 1996 and are still co-directors of the race. Here are their top 10 racehighlights.

Wally Arnold

‰; 10) Parting of the skies -- about three years ago they were predicting severe thunderstorms to hit the area around 7 a.m. Sunday. When Ross Hamernick came down to help at 5:30, he said he was watching the Weather Channel and the radar showed the storm actually splitting in two and going north and south of Rochester.

‰; 9) Dealing with construction. Roads torn up and deciding how to handle it. 16th St SW being torn up was a major problem. Wasn't good having the Mayowood Road bridge disappear on us either.

‰; 8) Getting hundreds of calls from people who are running their first marathon or race and trying to calm their nerves by answering their questions


‰; 7) Working with all the volunteers; especially the committee people.

‰; 6) It's always memorable when local runners win. Jerry Willie was the first and Pete Gillman and Deb Thomford followed. It's always rewarding when someone you know takes home the hardware. I remember talking to Jerry Willie after he ran. He commented that when he was going around Silver Lake 17 miles into the race and was ahead and he said to himself that this was his course and hometown and no one was going to pass him.

‰; 5) For the first eight years we would borrow a Gator from farmer to use for setting up the course and following the last runner. This was a good deal for him because it was the only time all year it would get washed. It would take two people two hours to get it presentable and even then it still smelled! So did K.C. Reed and Ross Hamernick afterwards.

‰; 4) The year of rain, 1999. Finding out the river had overflowed at Bear Creek, K.C. Reed, Conner Reed and myself building a bridge over the bike path with planks and hockey rink baseboards.

‰; 3) Every Saturday of Memorial Day weekend at 8 a.m. Everyone starts coming down to Soldiers Field, trucks and trailers arrive with supplies, tents start going up. The adrenalin starts flowing since we actually start doing things to get ready and doing physical work after months of just planning.

‰; 2) Every Memorial Day which is the day after the marathon.

‰; 1) When the National Anthem was sung and then the starting gun was fired at the very first Med-City Marathon.

Peg Arnold


‰; 10) Nels Pierson proposing at the finish line.

‰; 9) Meeting and making friends with runners from all over the country.

‰; 8) Jerry Wille winning in 1998 and 2001.

‰; 7) Presenting checks to area non-proft organizations.

‰; 6) Watching the race grow from its humble beginnings to a premier Southeast Minnesota event.

‰; 5) Not divorcing Wally!

‰; 4) Working with a great committee, many who have been with us for the full 10 years.

‰; 3) Seeing someone go from being a volunteer to running a four-person relay, to a two-person relay and then to the full marathon.


‰; 2) Seeing Deb Thomford, our hometown favorite, win the 2004 marathon.

‰; 1) The most memorable moment, was on May 26, 1996 when the starting gun went off for the first Med-City event. After two years of planning and hard work, it finally happened.

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