Moorhead puts out the welcome mat for all the marathon runners

You won’t hear the clip clop of horses running in the Scheels Marathon on Saturday, but you will be able to cheer on the volunteers from Riding On Angel’s Wings. They will have runners and walkers of all ages in the events.

That is one thing about the marathon that everyone agrees upon – people of all ages are active in supporting the annual spring party.

Riding On Angel’s Wings is one of many organizations linked through the marathon website with Crowdrise, a secure link to donate funds to the many groups using the marathon as a fund-and-fun raiser. ROAW volunteers will be fund-raising for scholarships.

President Anne Blackhurst from Minnesota State University Moorhead is a well-known enthusiastic runner. This year she is looking forward to the marathon’s 12th year. In April she said, “I can't wait to run through the MSUM campus during the marathon! I know it will give me the inspiration and energy to finish strong!”

Blackhurst’s commitment reflects the dedication and determination another marathon enthusiast lauds. Kathy Benson, campus nurse at Concordia College has volunteered several times at the aid station and as traffic monitor.

Benson is “astounded at some of the people you see running. As a person who deals with health, I’m envious. I’d rather be out there running. Their discipline is remarkable.” She has participated in a few walks and her two sons have run marathons as well.

Benson and Katherine Halvorson also see the marathon as a way to encourage others to better health. “The marathon is inspiring. It’s a cool combination of people.”

Katherine and Joe Hamilton are two avid boosters. They and their two daughters, Grace, 13, and Elise, 9, have volunteered for the past five years. The girls like to cheer and ring their bells, and think the big tubs of sports drinks mixed with a canoe paddle are especially fun. They once spent their volunteer day picking apple blossoms out of the drink.

Joe once ran the marathon newly bald. Katherine and the girls helped shave his head so he could honor those who have had or do have cancer. He was part of the American Cancer Society team.

If you see anyone running with their name on their jersey, give them a cheer by name. Many runners, even though they are concentrating on race time, get a real boost from a special cheer.

Another piece of advice from Katherine is “never yell you’re halfway there – be generic. It can be depressing for a runner if they are tired. Give them a boost.”

Join “Scorch” the MSUM Dragon mascot or “Kernel” the Concordia College mascot on their campuses and cheer runners. Runners enjoy and appreciate all Moorhead boosters.

The Moorhead Business Association will have an aid station under the First Avenue North Bridge. They, like many aid stations and other spots, will have music. The MBA will have a DJ and other locations will have live bands.

An inspiring trumpet player gives a lift, too. Bruce Emmel is on his Moorhead corner, tooting his horn and joining the fun.

From the first runners to the last, Moorhead will showcase its hospitality.

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