MARQUETTE - Nearly 800 people participated in the marathon, half marathon, the inaugural Black Rocks 5K and two kids' races at the fourth annual Marquette Marathon Friday and Saturday.
"Each year we just keep getting bigger," race director Jeri Mommaerts said from race headquarters at the Presque Isle Park Pavilion. "Our marathon committee, we are runners wanting to put on the best running event that we could possibly (have) in Marquette, and a Boston qualifier, and also give back to the community - so we donate our proceeds to charity."
Proceeds from the marathon will go to Marquette Senior High School Friends of Football, and proceeds from Friday's kids' races will go to Camp STARR, a bereavement camp held at Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay.
Runners begin their 26-mile race from Presque Isle Park during the fourth annual Marquette Marathon Saturday morning. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
The camp is sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Children's Bereavement Network and is "designed for children ages 8 to 16 who have experienced death of a parent, friend or loved one," according to its website.
The foggy weather and overcast skies Saturday morning, with temperatures in the mid-50s, did not discourage any of the racers. If anything, Mommaerts said the weather was perfect for Long distance running.
"The weather has cooperated, the humid, hot weather has broke, and this is, right now, this overcast with a light mist is actually perfect for the runners," she said.
Mommaerts said she was excited in particular by the participation of Dan Liburd and Trent Morrow. Liburd of Orchard Park, N.Y., is a strength and conditioning assistant entering his fifth season with the Buffalo Bills pro football team. He finished sixth in the marathon in his age group and 14th overall.
Morrow is an Australian known as "Marathon Man" for the superhero costumes he dons for his races and for his attempt this year to break the Guinness World Record for the most marathons run in a year. The Marquette Marathon was Morrow's 97th and he said he hopes to run 160.
Mommaerts also praised her staff as well as the people of Marquette for their support.
"I think we have an excellent volunteer staff," she said. "All of Marquette has come out to help us put on this event. I think it's going great. This is very exciting."
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org