AUBURN — Organizers for the inaugural Lake Auburn Half Marathon were more than pleased by the turnout for Sunday's event.
Nearly 500 event participants left from Lost Valley in Auburn for one of four events. In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, the event also featured a 5K run, 4K walk and a bicycle tour around Lake Auburn.
"We always wanted to put something together in this community to promote health," Dan Campbell, director for this year's event, said. "We wanted to promote a quality race for quality health."
Inspiration for the race came five decades ago when Campbell first pedaled around Lake Auburn. The longtime coach and counselor hoped to attracted hundreds for the event in an effort to promote getting fit, as well as community spirit.
Campbell's goal to promote healthy lifestyles throughout the Twin Cities got a good start Sunday as hundreds of runners, bicyclists, walkers, volunteers and spectators devoted their morning to the event.
"I thought it was fantastic," said half-marathon runner Emile Clavet, 51, of Auburn. "It was very well organized, and they had lots of volunteers. This race really rounded out the season really nicely."
Campbell said a tandem bicycle led the half marathon, and the 5K run was led by an ElliptiGo. The outdoor, elliptical cross-trainer enables low-impact outdoor running and looks like a cross between an elliptical machine and a bike.
The event also featured music at Lost Valley and family activities like face painting along the route for both athletes and spectators.
The race got off to an emotional start, both Campbell and Clavet said, as firefighters raised a large United States flag during the singing of the National Anthem. With the anniversary of 9/11 just two days away, they said the ceremony hit home for those gathered at the starting line.
"I think it's something that could easily turn into a tradition," Clavet said after the race. "It went very, very well. It's really nice that we get to have two half marathons in the Lewiston-Auburn area right now."