Believe it or not fall is on the way. It is hard to imagine with the heat and humidity we’ve been feeling lately, but every so often we catch a light breeze or a few cooler days. These are the simple hints that autumn is near. There are less subtle hints too, like the never ending annoyance known as Cicadas, with their blaring warning that summer must once again be coming to an end soon. For runners this means racing season is near.
While 2020 clearly offers up the most disrupted schedule ever; I mean who wants to do another virtual race in the neighborhood. Here in Sioux Falls for the lucky few we do have some race options. Last week I wrote about the upcoming Sioux Falls Area Running Club Trail Race Series and this week I caught up with Thomas Lee of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority to get the low down on the upcoming Sioux Falls Half Marathon coming up on Sunday, August 30th.
Greg: What is new with the Sioux Falls Marathon this year?
Thomas: Due to the times, we’ve scaled back to having only a Half Marathon which we capped at 600 participants. With no Expo this year, runners will receive their bib by mail mid-month. Additional precautions will be in place to provide as safe of an event for all involved as possible.
Greg: What should participants expect on race day?
Thomas: Where to begin?! We’ll have an outdoor start/finish this year as well as staggered starts of 50 or 100 runners every few minutes. The water stops, offering unopened bottled water, will be self-serve. The finish line will be less party-like than usual to help prevent post-race lingering. Shirts, medals and other goodies will also be self-serve once crossing the finish line. Downtown construction has caused a need to alter our typical HM route, runners should expect a hill at Mile 6! We’re thrilled to be offering a live race and hope, though this year will have a much different feel, runners will enjoy the day nonetheless.
Greg: Traditionally the race has been on the second weekend of September. Why was this year’s event moved? Do you foresee this being the new date in the future for this event?
Thomas: The primary reason for the move was due to an original date conflict with the Sanford International. I was looking forward to seeing if this year’s registration would vary from our typical mid-September date, but now of course we won’t have a true comparison. We received a lot of positive feedback initially when announcing the late-August date so it will definitely be considered for 2021 along with a return to mid-September.
Greg: Give us a little history on the Sioux Falls Sports Authority and the leadership of the Sioux Falls Marathon.
Thomas: The SFSA is responsible for recruiting major regional and national sporting events to Sioux Falls. In the past five years, we have hosted nearly a dozen NCAA Championships as well as multiple NAIA National Championships. We also work with the Summit League each year to help with the production of their Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships, assist however needed with the Sanford International, and of course we operate the Sioux Falls Marathon. Austin Bramley, Anne Bishop and I are the staff leadership of the marathon, but we rely greatly on Sanford marketing, runner & volunteer feedback, as well as our race director friends around the country that are fortunately open to sharing their success stories with us so we can continue to evolve the marathon into something our city can take great pride in.
Greg: Tell us about your sponsors and who benefits from the SF Marathon.
Thomas: We are continually grateful to have Sanford Health as the event’s title sponsor. They are very much involved in the planning of the event each year as they handle a bulk of the marketing efforts and provide all of the medical personnel. We are equally grateful to have the support of Hy-Vee, Chesterman/Coke, Midco, Results Radio, Smithfield, South Dakota Beef and AARP during this very unique year. A portion of the proceeds raised each year are donated to the Children’s Miracle Network!
Greg: Leave us with a final message to the local running community.
Thomas: Thank you to everyone’s support over the years. Whether you’ve ran or volunteered just once or do so yearly, we greatly appreciate it! Also, seriously, prepare for that hill at Mile 6 (sorry)!!!
Greg Koch is the Co-Owner and General Manager of 605 Running Company and Produces the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon, SuFu Circuit Relay Race and the 605 Summer Race Series. He serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Sioux Falls, the 605 Race Crew and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. When Greg isn’t with his family or working he enjoys being outside biking, kayaking, golfing or playing church softball.
YouTube: 605 Running Company