MARQUETTE- Friday evening's registration for the Marquette Marathon filled the Commons with people eager to get their gear for the race.
"I am hoping that everyone finishes safely, that it's as fast and beautiful of a course that we believe it to be," Race Director Jeri Mommaerts said.
This year's course is a little different, with starts in Ishpeming for the full marathon and Negaunee for the half marathon, with the finish line at the corner of Third and Michigan streets. In previous years, the race started and finished at Presque Isle Park.
Participants in the Marquette Marathon register for the race at the Commons Friday evening.
Hajime Nishi, a runner who traveled from Japan to participate in his 665th marathon, is shown at registration. (Journal photo by Elizabeth Bailey)
"We started last August on plans for this year," Mommaerts said.
As of mid-week there were 955 pre-registered runners, with the line of new runners at registration sure to push that number much higher.
"I absolutely expect to be over 1,000 runners this weekend," she said.
The marathon brings people from all over the country - and even overseas.
Mark and Kathy Barton of Greenville, Ohio, are on their fifth road marathon this year alone.
"We've never run this marathon, but we've run out on Grand Island in Munising," Mark Barton said.
They said the best way to prepare for a marathon is eat well, stay away from ice cream and, of course, keep running.
"We run 30 to 40 miles a week," he said.
But not every runner is here to run the fastest, though, as japanese runner Hajime Nishi made his trip to the U.S. earlier this week. He said this will be the 665th marathon he's participated in and he hopes to one day reach 1,000. He also emphasized that competition doesn't really matter, it's more about getting involved, staying active and helping future generations live longer.
"Running fast is not my option, but to enjoy nature and beauty while I run ... I like to stop and smell the roses," Nishi said.
Elizabeth Bailey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.