Runners to have minimal contact with traffic: Course designed with safety in mind; medical personnel will be on hand
BEMIDJI — The Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon was designed with safety in mind.
The majority of the course is plotted along a paved recreational trail to minimize runners’ exposure to passing traffic, officials said. Area roads will not need to be closed during the marathon.
"We put a lot of detail into helping plan the routes where it would not impact anyone’s safety," said Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin.
Between miles 18 and 22 of the marathon on Saturday is where Mastin advises both motorists and runners take extra caution. Because it is on a county road, motorists may be travelling at a higher rate of speed than in town.
"Be aware, be vigilant," Mastin said.
Health and safety of the runners, and spectators, is a main concern for the event’s sponsor, Sanford Bemidji, as well.
"Listen to your bodies," advised Dr. Mark Carlson of Sanford Bemidji, who is serving as medical director for the weekend’s Blue Ox marathon events.
Runners may need medical attention because of heart problems, breathing problems, muscle cramping, dehydration, too much hydration, or being too hot or too cold.
In addition to the main medical tent at the Sanford Center’s starting line, runners will pass by five medical stations interspersed between water stations.
First responders on bicycles also will be patrolling the race route and in mini-vans, which will follow behind to pick up drop-out runners.
"If you need help, seek medical personnel," Carlson said. "The closest help might be behind you."
Most runners will complete the marathon in three hours, the half marathon in about an hour. The course will be closed at 3:30 p.m.
Following the race, Carlson recommends runners keep moving and stretching. Fluids, nutrition and a massage tent will be available at the finish point.
Event organizers hope for a clear autumn day with temperatures in the 60s, but Carlson said October weather can be unpredictable in Minnesota, so runners should plan accordingly.
"This will be a good showcase for Bemidji’s beautiful lakes and fall colors," Carlson said.