Schedule of Events
5am-6am Saturday (Marathon & 50km)
6:15am-7:45am Saturday (Half Marathon)
Bus to Start
6am Saturday (Marathon & 50km)
7:45am Saturday (Half Marathon)
7am Saturday (Marathon & 50km)
8:30am Saturday (Half Marathon)
This is an event designed for walkers. We welcome all walkers, including, but not limited to, fitness walkers, power walkers, nordic walkers, racewalkers, hikers, walk/runners and even, gasp, even ordinary walkers.
We ask that all participants walk. There are lots of marathons for runners. If you want to run a marathon in central Minnesota at about this time of year, consider the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon.
Styles of Walking
When you register, you must indicate your walking style. You must use your selected style for the entire distance of your event. Here are the definitions of the walking styles available in this year's event:
Walking means that at least one foot appears to be touching the ground at all times. Strolling, hiking, fitness walking, power walking and ordinary walking all follow this rule, as do Nordic walking and race walking.
Race Walking means that you must follow USATF rule 232.2: “[…] a progression of steps so taken that the [race] walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the leg is in the vertical upright position.”
Nordic Walking means that you must walk and use one walking pole in each hand on every step.
Mixture of Walking and Running means that you walk part of the time and (gasp) run or jog part of the time. For those of you that register in the mixture style, we ask that you note that this is a walking marathon. If you really are going to be running a majority of the time and your expected completion time is less than 4.5 hours for the marathon or less than 2 hours for the half marathon or less than 5 hours for the 50k then please enter another marathon. There are lots of marathons for speedy runners. If you want to run a marathon in central Minnesota at about this time of year, consider the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon.
We have USATF certified walking judges on the course. The walking judges are there to ensure that the styles of walking mean something, not to ask you to change how you walk.
If a walking judge sees anyone running, the judge moves them into the mixture of walking and running style. If a judge sees a Nordic walker carrying their poles instead of using them, the judge moves them to the walking style. If a judge sees a race walker violating the “straightened at the knee” rule, the judge moves them to the walking style.
How slow can you go?
For the marathon and the 50km, the time limit is 9 hours - from the 7am start to 4pm course close. That means you have to maintain a pace of about 20 min/mile for the marathon or 17 min/mile for 50km to complete in under 9 hours.
For the half marathon, the time limit is 7.5 hours - from the 8:30am start to the 4pm course close. That means you have to maintain a pace of about 34 min/mile to complete in under 7.5 hours.
Water stops and Aid Stations are kept open and fully stocked for everyone.
How fast can you go?
You can go as fast as you can, as long as you are walking.
Elite racewalkers will walk a marathon in about 3 hours. While we don't expect anyone of that caliber to come, we will have the water stops open in time for the fastest racewalkers that come. We expect that to be about 4.5 hours for the marathon but we will easily adapt to faster paces if needed as the race progresses.
On Friday, just prior to race day, you may pickup your packet at the site of the Pre-Race dinner from 5:45pm-8pm.
On Saturday, race day, you may pickup your packet at the Lake Wobegon Trail trailhead building, 572 College Ave in St Joseph starting at 5am. Please allow ample time to pickup your packet before the bus to the start leaves.
The pre-race pasta dinner will be hosted by the College of St Benedict at 6pm the Friday evening before the race. Dinner includes salad, vegetable, pasta entree, bread and desert. Both meat and vegetarian pasta entrees are available. Cost is $10 per person. Participants and guests are welcome. You may purchase dinner tickets during registration. The college selects the location of the pre-race dinner only a few days before the race. They post signs at the entrances to campus to direct you to the appropriate location.
Race Day Parking + Bus Transportation
Parking at the start lines is very limited. There is ample parking at the finish line, adjacent to the trailhead building, 572 College Ave in St Joseph. There is no transportation available from the finish line back to the start to pickup a parked vehicle after the race. There is no transportation from the finish line back to the college parking lots..
We recommend that you use the optional bus transportation to the start. Cost is $2. The bus will pick you up from the trailhead building and take you to your starting line.
The bus to the marathon start line and the 50km leaves at 6am targeting a 6:40am arrival in Melrose. The bus to the half marathon start line leaves at 7:30am targeting an 8am arrival in Albany.
Please bring your cell phone and carry it with you to use in case of emergencies. While we don't expect any emergencies, we realize they are by nature unexpected, and it is good to be ready. The course is through rural Minnesota. Often your only companions will be the soft rustle of the wind and other walkers. We will provide you with 2 cell phone numbers - one to contact race management and the second to contact the Lake Wobegon Trail emergency response team. If you are at an Aid Station, contact an Aid Station worker.
The weather in Minnesota is quite variable in May. It could be 30 degrees and windy, or 70 degrees and sunny. Be sure to check the predicted weather for St Joseph, MN 56374 before you decide what to wear on race day.
The sun in mid-May is the same strength as the sun in late July. Your skin is probably not used to long exposure to the sun (especially if you are just coming out of a long Minnesota winter). We recommend sun block.
Even if it seems cold, remember to drink an appropriate amount of fluids for your body and level of effort. We have water stops every couple of miles that offer water and sports drink and something simple to eat.
Check for ticks after the race. If you stay on the asphalt path, you probably won't get any, but ticks with Lyme disease are in Minnesota, so you can't be too careful.
The marathon and 50km will start at 7am in Melrose. The half marathon starts at 8:30am in Albany.
Bus to the Marathon & 50km Start
The bus leaves at 6am from the Lake Wobegon trailhead building, 572 College Ave, St Joseph (just north of the water tower).
Driving to the Marathon & 50km Start
Drive to St Mary's School, 211 S 5th Avenue East, Melrose, MN. Take the Melrose exit from I94 (exit 135), turn north onto County Highway 13 which becomes S 2nd Ave E. Turn right onto E 4th St S. Turn left onto S 5th Ave E. The school is on your right. The steeple for the Catholic church to the west can be seen for a long way. We gather in the room with an entrance on the north side of the school. The bus will arrive about 6:30am. We will start promptly at 7am.
Bus to the Half Marathon Start
The bus leaves at 8am from the Lake Wobegon trailhead building, 572 College Ave, St Joseph (just north of the water tower).
Driving to the Half Marathon Start
Take the Albany exit from I94 (exit 147), turn north onto 8th St S. Cross over Lake Wobegon Trail. Turn right onto Railroad Ave. Continue on Railroad Ave as it bends to the right and becomes County Highway 54. Before County Highway 54 bends left and parallels the interstate, turn left onto Schwinghammer Dr. Take an immediate left onto Whispering Oaks Dr. Follow Whispering Oaks Dr. almost to the end. Just past the last house on the left is an asphalt path that leads to the Lake Wobegon Trail and the half marathon start. There is a port-a-potty at the start. The bus will be here at approximately 8:20. We will start promptly at 8:30am.
Saturday Morning Coffee
For the marathon, coffee, bagels, juice and fruit will be at the starting line at St Mary's School. For the half marathon, coffee and bagels will be available at the trailhead building starting at 6am.
All events are held on the Lake Wobegon® Regional Trail. More detail
Issues Along the Trail
If you have an emergency, dial 911 first.
We have an EMT covering the event. Contact a staff member at a water stop or call the race director or the EMT (these phone numbers will be in your packet with your bib numbers) for assistance.
Each staffed water stop has a self-help first aid kit. band aids, sunscreen, vaseline, and other basics are in the kit. Ask the staff member at the water stop if you wish first aid supplies.
If you see anything of concern along the trail, or encounter an issue where you need assistance, please contact a staff member at one of the staffed water stops, or contact the race director.
The finish is at mile marker 82 on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, on the north edge of St Joseph. There will be a post race goodies in the trail head building, 572 College Ave in St Joseph, just a 100 meters down the trail from the finish.
Every finisher will receiver a We Walk! Marathon commemorative medal at the finish.
Bib numbers should be placed on the front of the chest. This helps our water stop workers identify you as a part of the event, makes it possible for our photographers to identify you in the pictures, and makes it easier for our finish line crew to get the timing and the awards done quickly.
We provide each walker with 4 identically numbered bib numbers. We do this because we want you to put a bib number on each layer that you have on. If you have fewer than 4 layers, please place the remaining bib numbers on the back of the layers you think are mostly likely to be on the outside during the last part of the event.
We provide bags at the start line, and at the first staffed water stop you encounter, to hold any clothes that you no longer need. We will write your bib number on the bag. We plan to have each bag at trail head building at the finish line before you cross the finish line.
There are several good opportunities for spectators to interact with participants along the course. The prime locations are in each of the towns: Melrose, Freeport, Albany, Avon, and St Joseph. The Lake Wobegon Trail is on an old railroad track, which is on most road maps.
The start of the half marathon is adjacent to a residential neighborhood. Take special care to be considerate of the residents if you come to the half marathon start.
We ask that spectators use extreme caution if they select another location. Off-street parking is not available along the country roads, and road shoulders are narrow or non-existent. This is especially true at Collegeville. It may look like a town on the map, but it is not even a wide spot in the road.
The closest airport is in St Cloud, MN (airport code STC). There are only 4 flights per day into STC, and the planes are small, so book early. STC is about 15 miles (30 minutes) away from St Joseph (map). If you need shuttle service between STC and the college dorms and the finish line, request it by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The nearby major airport is in Minneapolis / St. Paul (airport code MSP). MSP is a major hub. MSP is 86 miles from St Joseph (map).
Local Transportation & Rental Cars
St. Joseph is in rural Minnesota with almost non-existent public transportation. You will most likely need to have access to a car. Rental cars are available at the airports (STC and MSP).
St Joseph is a small town, with very limited commercial lodging. St Cloud is a larger town nearby with more housing alternatives.
We recommend staying in the dorm rooms of the College of St Benedict in St Joseph, MN the evening before the race. The college provides full linen service, including sheets, pillow, blankets, towels, wash cloth, soap and drinking glass. The college is very accommodating about late checkouts. In 2010 people were able to shower after the race! Be sure to ask for late check-out when you make your reservation if you want to shower after you finish. Reserve your room online, directly from the College of St Benedict.
Contact race director Dave Daubert.