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Ready for the Beardsley Run

The starting gun fires on the 19th Annual Dick Beardsley Half Marathon, Relay, 5k run/walk and 1k Kids Run this Saturday, Sept. 6 at 8:30 a.m. on West Lake Drive near the Detroit Lakes Pavilion.

The 13-mile half marathon and relay route takes runners up Washington Avenue through downtown Detroit Lakes then around Little and Big Detroit Lakes. The 5k route follows the half marathon route, but just runs through town to end at City Park.

The Kid’s 1K Run, which is open to kids 12 and under, starts at 11 a.m.

“We’re excited for another year,” said race coordinator Kim Bettcher. “We are always appreciative of the community support. It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years.”

The weekend’s festivities actually begin the Friday before the race, Sept. 5. Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center fitness instructors will be in City Park giving fitness class demonstrations at 6 p.m. Beardsley and guest runner, Amby Burfoot, will then speak at the bandshell at 7 p.m.

Beardsley won’t be running the race this year due to a recent medical procedure on his knee, but Bettcher said guest legend Burfoot will take part in the half marathon (which Burfoot himself has confirmed).

Runners will be entertained along the entire route by various live and recorded music acts. Bettcher said Detroit Lakes Police chief Tim Eggebraaten will once again sing the national anthem preceding the start of the race before scurrying over to West Lake Drive and Summit Avenue to sing for the passing runners.

Bettcher said Marty Soloman’s band, The Buffalo River Band, will also be performing for runners on the south side of Big Detroit Lake.

“We have six to 12 people that we’ve contacted that will be entertaining around the lake, but every year it seems like there’s somebody that will pop up and play,” she said. “Often times when it’s a hot day, people in their yards will get their sprinklers out on the road to cool people off and help out the runners.”

A water station every mile of the race route will also help keep the runners cool and hydrated.

Race participants will once again find the “Stretch of Silence” on top of the hill on Summit Avenue. About 20 volunteers will line both sides of Summit Avenue with American Flags and runners and spectators are asked to observe a moment of silence when passing this spot. Bettcher said the “Stretch of Silence” was started to memorialize the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“It has continued because it’s such a powerful recognition to our veterans and to people serving,” Bettcher said.

All of the planning and implementation of the race falls to about 250 volunteers who give their time to producing a quality event, Bettcher said.

“A lot of (the volunteers) are families and businesses, so it is literally a community effort,” she said.