Runners in Duluth for Grandma's Marathon over the weekend were solicited to run another North Woods race this year, this one on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
At a pre-race expo booth, organizers gave out cards advertising the first Ely Marathon on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Billed as "the 8,390 rod portage" run — a reference to the lengths of portages for BWCA canoers — the Ely Marathon logo includes the silhouette of a runner, a moose, a wolf and a loon.
The event is part of the town's ongoing effort to bring in more visitors, especially during lulls in tourism.
"We've talked forever about why isn't there a marathon in Ely? We're a town of active people who enjoy the outdoors," said event coordinator Wendy Lindsay, who was hired by the city and the Ely Chamber of Commerce to bring new events to town. "We're working on making it a big event."
Runners can also do a half marathon that Saturday or a 5K that Friday evening.
So far, more than 400 people have signed up for the full or half marathon, Lindsay said. Many of the resorts and motels that are typically closed for the season by that date are staying open for the event, she added.
The marathon course starts along the northern arm of Burntside Lake and ends in downtown Ely. The registration page calls it a "semi-challenging route" that includes "about six miles of gravel, many scenic views and maybe even a deer or two!"
Register or get more details at www.elymarathon.com.