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Med City Marathon getting closer to 'normal' in 2022

Like everything else, Rochester’s Med City Marathon was hit hard during the pandemic. The race, to be run Sunday morning, is getting closer to "normal" this year.

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Plainview native Levi Severson, who now lives in Edina, rounds the corner to the finish line during the 2021 Med City Marathon, in Rochester. Severson finished first out of 182 marathon runners with a time of 2:41:19.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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The Med City Marathon will be approaching “normal” this year, whatever that means.

Like everything else, Rochester’s biggest race weekend has been hit hard during the pandemic.

Nothing has resembled normalcy.

In March of 2020, COVID-19 hit big time. At first, the Med City made plans to hold the race as scheduled, but those plans were soon scrapped. The race was postponed for early September, but, again, it was cancelled.

In 2021, the race was again postponed and rescheduled for September but with a limited field of participants.

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It also produced the closest finish in race history, when Edina's Levi Severson — a Plainview native — won the Med City in his first attempt at it. He passed Lewiston's Mike Walentiny in the final 385 yards and edged him by 15 seconds at the finish line.

“I really never saw him,” Walentiny told the PB after the race, “and by the time I did, he was past me and no matter what I did, I didn’t have enough left. There wasn’t much I could do. He just flew past me.”

The 2019 Med City went off as scheduled, a year after the full marathon in 2018 was canceled due to excessive heat.

It appears now that 2022 Med City will go on as scheduled this weekend, with a 5k race set for Saturday night, May 28, and the full marathon, 20-mile, relay and half-marathon to take place Sunday, May 29. The full marathon is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m.

"This has been a couple of interesting and challenging years, to say the least,” said race director Mark Bongers. “Our hope now is that everything is in the past and we look for bigger and better things as we move forward.”

So much has changed. For instance, the start of the marathon.

For years the race started in Byron and the course twisted and turned its way to Rochester.

In 2019, runners started south of Rochester at the International Events Center and finished behind the Mayo Civic Center.

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“We heard a lot of positive responses,” said Bongers, “and it makes sense for that to continue.”

Half marathon runners finish at Mayo Civic with the marathon continuing around a big loop around Rochester. In a nutshell, the course goes to Quarry Hill, and then follows the north banks of Silver Lake, to Cascade Lake, before taking trails back to the Mayo Civic Center.

“It’s basically flat," said Bongers, “although there is that big hill up West River Parkway. Even then, a majority of the runners like the changes we made.”

There will also be an expanded Finish Line Festival, both on Sunday following the half marathon and full marathon and also on Saturday night (6:30) after the family 5K.

MED CITY MARATHON

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Saturday, May 28

11 a.m. — Ronald McDonald House Walk.

2-8 p.m. — TerraLoco Health and Fitness Expo. May Civic Center. Race registration, and packet pickup.

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5:30 p.m. — GLK Orthodontics Kids Run.

6:30 p.m. — Altra Federal Credit Union 5 K.

6:30-8:30 p.m. — Finish Line Festival. Mayo Civic Center.

• • • • •

Sunday, May 29

5:20 a.m. — Race shuttles to start line from downtown Rochester.

5:30 a.m. — Orange Theory packet pickup, at start line.

7 a.m. — Med City full marathon, relay, 20-mile and Gillette Pepsi Half Marathon. At Rochester International Events Center.

9 a.m. — Kids Play Zone, at finish line area.

9 a.m. — Finish Line Festival.

10 a.m. — Live music by Loud Mouth Brass, at finish line area.

3 p.m. — Race festivities conclude.

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