Whether you are a runner or not, if you live in the metro area it’s pretty hard to ignore the annual Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. Every year, generally around the first Sunday in October, thousands gather to run 26.2 miles through the neighboring cities.
Runners begin in the heart of Minneapolis, race by the Spoonbridge and Cherry, dart through neighborhoods, weave around lakes and dash up Summit Avenue’s hill to the finish line at the Capitol in St. Paul where a Summit beer awaits them (well, awaits those 21+).
However, like so many things in 2020, the Twin Cities Marathon has had to change course. The marathon and all of the subsequent events – 5K, 10K and 10 mile – are being held virtually.
As a sponsor of Twin Cities in Motion, the company behind the Twin Cities Marathon, Summit Brewing Company’s involvement has changed, too. But we are still excited to share how you can participate and support this annual event.
A New Look for Marathon Weekend
The Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile were set to take place on Sunday, Oct. 4, with the 5K and 10K events on Saturday, Oct. 3. Now, participants are invited to run any time they can between Oct. 1 and 31. Twin Cities in Motion has an app with suggested routes that are safe and socially-distanced, information on how to report time and special virtual goodies. Results are self-reported online and through whatever tracking device runners prefer. With this trust-based approach there will be no official winner, but results will still be viewable online.
Scott Wilson, Senior Partnerships Manager at Twin Cities in Motion, said while it is a loss to not be able to run together it also provides freedom for participants.
“Virtual racing is different, but you can choose to do it on your own schedule. So, some people may never have been able to [run the marathon because] they couldn’t take off work or had other commitments, but now they can do it on a Tuesday afternoon,” Wilson said. “We can also be flexible with the weather!”
Another way participants can enjoy flexibility this year is through the MNy Challenge, sponsored by yours truly. Each month there is a new challenge, plus a special one-day challenge from us.
Our challenge: run further than we brew beer!
On the chosen day, we tally up how much beer we’ve brewed (a 12pack is roughly five miles) and then see who was able to out run us! The winners receive a Summit prize pack.
Building Socially-Distanced Community
While many run to stay in shape, some run as a way to build their circle and find others who share their passion for active lifestyles. Wilson said the sense of community built by marathon weekend doesn’t need to end.
One way Twin Cities in Motion is promoting that is by including masks made specifically for running in each race kit
“One of the reasons we have these masks are so that if you are running with someone not in your bubble, you can still do that safely,” Wilson said
Wilson recommends every runner still consider CDC guidelines and keep their groups small, but said that for those runners planning to race outside the masks add an extra layer of protection when it may be harder to keep space between people.
Twin Cities in Motion has also worked with their partners (yes, us included!) to record messages through the app Motigo for runners to be played along the route.
Sponsor Medica has a message at the five-mile mark reminding people to stop and hydrate. At the 26th mile, Summit Brewing’s head brewer Damian McConn gives runners inspiration that a cold brew is waiting for them at the finish line.
Family and friends can still record messages to runners up until the time participants begin their race.
There will also be a virtual Health & Fitness Expo held Oct. 2 – 3. Virtual messages from Medtronic, Brooks Running and other partners will be live throughout the weekend.
Summit makes an appearance again with McConn shares a tasting of a Summit beer. Look for that at 11:15 a.m. on both Oct. 2 and Oct. 3
The Positives Outcomes
While 2020 has changed a lot of our day-to-day lives and habits, it hasn’t all been for the negative.
“With gyms closing there are a lot more people who are running in the streets and who are running on their own – running, biking, moving. They have more time to get out there and get active,” Wilson said. “Our job is to capture them and help them as they grow in their running.”
And some people are not just moving more, but perhaps moving for the first time. Wilson said for new runners, racing in any of the events on their own time is a great way to prove to themselves they can do it.
“Then, when we get back to in-person, these runners can feel more confident that they can participate,” he said.
And, of course, the other thing that has not changed, for those over 21, is your ability to still enjoy a Summit beer at completion.
Wilson’s Summit beer of choice? “Slugfest! I love that hoppiness to it and that it has a low ABV so I can enjoy more than one.”
But remember, please drink responsibly!
For more information on signing up or participating in any of the Marathon Weekend events, visit Twin Cities in Motion online.