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BLUE OX MARATHON: Despite rain and wind, organizers say event a hugh success

BEMIDJI — The drizzling rain and sometimes brisk wind wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the more than 900 runners and countless spectators for the first-ever Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon.

The number of participants exceeded expectations, organizers said. “We were expecting about 500,” Phil Knutson, one of the organizers, said. “But this turn out is wonderful.”

The weather was worse for the spectators, Knutson said. The rain didn’t really affect the runners much since the rain and wind was mostly at their backs, he added.

Over all, Knutson said, the two-day event was a smashing success.

 “It’s nice to bring something like a nice marathon to Bemidji,” Knutson said. “The event looks great.”

The Blue Ox Marathon is intended to be a “friendly” marathon, he said.

“We don’t want to time it at the same time as others. We’re not competing with places like Walker,” Knutson said.

For next year, they would like to keep it on the same weekend, but that’s up whether the Sanford Center is available.

“We’d like to keep it at the same time, or maybe a week earlier,” he said.

More information for next year’s marathon will be posted online soon, he said. 

Joe Froemming

Joe Froemming is a page designer for Forum Communications Co. You can read his blog at

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