The Dick Beardsley Half-Marathon has been a post-Labor Day tradition in Detroit Lakes since 1995, and in the years since that first event was held, several more races and fun run events have been added during the week surrounding the main event.
"We're in year 24 ... we've had a few changes," Race Director Mark Knutson said. "The biggest change this year is the venue. We're not going to start and finish in front of the Pavilion this year."
So why change the setup, after so many years? There's a wedding party scheduled for the Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 7, so organizers were prompted to seek a new venue to stage the start and finish of the 5K, 10K, kids' run and half marathon, which are all set for the same day.
The solution? Kent Freeman Arena will do the honors this year instead.
"We're actually going to be able to start everybody inside the arena, and finish up there too," Knutson said. "Kent Freeman Arena has a really nice setup, it's a great place to start and finish the races."
Bleacher seating for spectators, plenty of parking and an indoor setting for registration and other pre-race preparations are just a few of the advantages of the new location.
"We'll try it out and see what happens," Knutson said. "We're pretty excited about it."
Knutson said he's also looking forward to some of the pre-race fun that's happening over the holiday weekend. The Zorbaz Beer Run is Saturday, Aug. 31; the Tour de Lake Bike Race is Sunday, Sept. 1; and the Zorbaz Dog Run is coming up on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2.
Started in 2013, the Zorbaz Beer Run has proved to be immensely popular, and the reason isn't really a mystery: The event consists of up to three 1-mile running loops, with a stop in the "beer zone" to drink a pint at the end of each loop. Hosted by Zorbaz's beachside restaurant in Detroit Lakes, this year's run starts at 2 p.m. Aug. 31. Visit zorbazbeerrun.com for more information, or to register.
Both the bike tour and dog run were added in 2017, and have been well-received since their inception, Knutson said.
The Third Annual Tour de Lake, 9 a.m. Sept. 1, is sponsored by Blue 84, Lakeshirts and the DL Bike Shop. Racers can choose between a 10-mile and a 20-mile option, with both set to begin and end on Peoples Street, between Zorbaz and Peoples Park. Visit dickbeardsleyraces.com/tourdelake for more information, or to register.
The Zorbaz Dog Run, also entering its third year, gets underway at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 2. This event is also sponsored by Zorbaz, and like the bike race, also begins and ends on Peoples Street between the restaurant and Peoples Park. Visit dickbeardsleyraces.com/zorbaz-dog-run for more information, or to register.
Last but not least, Race Day for the Dick Beardsley Run is Saturday, Sept. 7. Though the start of the 5K, 10K, half marathon and youth run will be staggered as in past years, the time between the start of the 5K, 10K and half marathon races has been shortened considerably, Knutson said.
"For the last few years we’ve started the 5K at 11 a.m., but we’re going to do all three of them early this year," he added. "The half marathon starts at 8 a.m., the 10K at 8:05 a.m. and the 5K at 8:15 a.m."
The competitors in all three events will be doing the loop up and down Washington Avenue to start the race, but because they will all be finishing that part of the course around the same time, Washington Avenue will only be closed to traffic for about half as long as it has in years past, Knutson said.
The half-marathon runners also will be taking a clockwise route around the lake rather than running counter-clockwise, as they have been doing for the past few years.
The youth run, meanwhile, begins at 11:30 a.m., also inside Freeman Arena, with kids being able to choose between a half-mile or mile-long course that will take a slightly different route than the adult racers. Instead of heading toward Washington Avenue, the young racers will head north on Rossman, then east on Forest Street, then north again on Phinney Avenue, then return to the arena along the same route.
More information, including registration forms, map routes and more, can be found at dickbeardsleyraces.com.