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Marji Gesick will provide wide variety of challenges

Find your limits. Destroy them. Those are on the words that serve as the cover photo on the Marji Gesick’s Facebook page.

That’s what this event, rolling into its fifth year, does to its participants: tests their limits. Today through Sunday, runners and bike riders will try to finish what is considered one of the toughest races in the nation, 200 miles on bike or foot, across a large portion of Marquette County.

There are additional distances of 100, 50 or 15 miles for bikers and for runners, 100 or 50 miles. And there’s also a combination event, the 100-mile dualthlon, which is 60 miles biking and 40 miles running.

The Marji Gesick is a production of the 906 Adventure Team, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Its website, marjigesick.com, states: “The Upper Peninsula is a vast landscape that quickly overwhelms the unprepared. Da Marji, as referred to by locals, will fool you. Do your homework. Believe the stories. Prepare. Marquette County trails are littered with rocks, roots, and punchy climb after punchy climb hammering you into submission. Since 2015 our average DNF rate is 60%. Weather in the U.P. can be defined as unpredictable. We encourage you to prepare for everything from the possibility of all-day rain or even flurries. Not kidding. The coveted Marji Gesick belt buckle is awarded to those that can complete the 100-mile course in under 12 hours. Many have tried. Almost all have failed. They usually return to complete their unfinished business.”

The race is named after an Ojibwa native who showed prospectors the first iron ore in the area. This year, some 700 people are expected to participate.

In Ishpeming, the finish line chute will run from Pearl Street to Cleveland Avenue on Main Street. Organizers said Main Street will close to traffic at 5 p.m. today.

Setup for an expo will begin at 6 a.m. Saturday along Ishpeming’s Main Street from Hematite to Pearl, and runners are expected to finish any time after 8 a.m., followed by the first mountain bikers mid-afternoon.

The expo, featuring food trucks and a beer tent, will run from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. Organizers said race participants will finish throughout the night and early morning hours Sunday.

The majority of Main Street will reopen by 9 a.m. Sunday.

The Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce is working with the Marji Gesick to keep businesses and the community informed about the event. The GINCC will also be giving away free limited-edition cowbells to spectators starting at 3 p.m. Saturday near the finish line.

We hope lots of people get out to cheer on the racers as they bike/run through the various portions of this incredible course.

To keep up-to-date on event happenings, follow the Marji Gesick Facebook page @marjigesick100.