Photo originally published Oct. 15, 1990
The easiest way to get through Minneapolis and St. Paul during the first weekend of October is to run — 26.2 miles, to be exact.
It's marathon weekend, and the Twin Cities will stand still while more than 9,500 runners wind from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, past the city's lakes, along the banks of the Mississippi River and down St. Paul's Summit Avenue to the State Capitol.
The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is one of the Top 10 marathons in the country and recognized as one of America's most beautiful urban races, but its origin was a little more low-key.
The area's first marathon, in 1963, was put on by the Minnesota Distance Running Association. The Land of Lakes Marathon in Minneapolis had five — yes, five — runners.
In 1976, the name was changed to the City of Lakes Marathon. In 1981, when interest in running started to ramp up, the race reached its capacity of 1,700 runners. That same year, a local runner launched a race in St. Paul that drew 2,000 runners, but only lasted the one year.
The following year, the two races joined forces to establish the Twin Cities Marathon, combining the beauty of both cities. The first race drew more than 4,500 entrants. The marathon has grown every year since, and now incorporates a weekend of family-friendly events, including a toddler trot.