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, ordinary walkers, fitness walkers, power walkers, nordic walkers, race walkers, hikers and even walk/runners.
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.
Nordic Walking means that you must walk and use one walking pole in each hand on every step.
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.”
Mixture of Walking and Running means that you walk part of the time and run or jog part of the time. For more information on this style, check out the web site of Jeff Galloway, the inventor of the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method.
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 finish 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 finish 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.
We expect the first finishers to take about 4:30 for the marathon, 1:45 for the half marathon and 5:30 for the 50km.
If you are doing a mixture of walking and running, and you are faster than the times just mentioned, please consider a running marathon instead. If you want to run/walk a fast marathon in central Minnesota at about this time of year, consider the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon.
We will have the water stops open in time for the fastest walkers that come. If you plan on being faster than the times we listed above, please email us by May 1 and let us know your event, your expected time and your walking style.
On Saturday morning, this is where the action begins and ends. Race day packet pickup, the bus to the starting line, the finish line, and post-race goodies are all centered around the trailhead building.
Lake Wobegon Trail trailhead building
572 College Ave N
St Joseph, MN
This is just north of the white water tower.
On the Friday, just prior to race day, you may pickup your packet at the event hotel from 5:30pm-8pm.
On Saturday, race day, you may pickup your packet at the Lake Wobegon Trailhead in St Joseph.
5am-6am Saturday (Marathon & 50km)
6:15am-7:45am Saturday (Half Marathon)
Please allow ample time to pickup your packet before the bus to the start leaves.
Dinner plans will be announced after the opening of registration late 2015.
Parking at the start lines is very limited. There is ample parking at the finish line, adjacent to the Lake Wobegon Trailhead 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 event hotel.
We recommend that you use the provided bus transportation to the start. The bus will pick you up from the Lake Wobegon Trailhead in St Joseph and take you to your starting line.
The bus to the marathon start line and the 50km starting line leaves at 6am targeting a 6:40am arrival in Melrose. The bus to the half marathon start line leaves at 7:45am targeting an 8:20am arrival in Albany.
Please bring your cell phone and carry it with you. While we don't expect any emergencies, we realize they are by nature, unexpected. 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.
At race start, we will provide you with 2 cell phone numbers - one to contact race management and the second to contact the EMT service that is supporting our race. 911 is also available. If you are at an Aid Station, an Aid Station worker can make these calls for you, and can provide additional assistance.
If you have an emergency, dial 911 first.
The EMTs covering the event are there to assist you with any medical issues you have. If you need help dealing with blisters, or the sun, or whatever, please ask them for assistance. They may also ask you about how you are feeling.
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, or contact the EMT, or in the event of an emergency, call 911.
The weather in Minnesota is quite variable in May. It could be 30 degrees and windy, or 70 degrees and sunny. One year we had 3" of rain at the finish line during the race. Another year was 60 degrees with a wonderful tailwind. Be sure to check the predicted weather for St Joseph, MN 56374 before you decide what to wear on race day.
The event is never postponed because of weather to another day. The start can be delayed if a line of severe storms comes thru. Each participant should make themselves aware of the predicted weather for the day and make appropriate decisions about what to do. You will be walking thru rural Minnesota, with sturdy shelter often a significant distance away.
You can switch from a longer distance to a shorter distance on race day if you are concerned about the weather (or for any other reason). We do not offer refunds for changing to a shorter distance.
If the weather is sufficiently bad in the morning, we may cancel one or more of the distances. We do not offer refunds in the event that we must cancel your distance because of weather.
We are very open about the decision making process regarding weather. If you see something of concern, please bring it to our attention. A lot of weather information is available to every smart phone user these days. We encourage you to take advantage of this information prior to the start, and during the event.
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. Ticks with Lyme disease are in Minnesota, so you can't be too careful.
The bus to marathon and 50km start leaves at 6am, with the start at 7am in Melrose. The bus to the half marathon start leaves at 7:45am, with the start at 8:30am just east of Albany.
We encourage all participants to take the bus to the start.
Directions to the start for spectators and support crews are here.
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
The finish is at mile marker 82 on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, on the north edge of St Joseph. There will be post race goodies in the Lake Wobegon Trailhead 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 wear. That way, when you get warm and take a layer off, there is still a bib number visible. And, when you want to drop of excess clothing, there is a good chance that one of the pieces will have a bib number attached to it, making the drop off quick and simple, and the recovery of clothes at the finish easy because you can easily see your bib number thru the clear plastic bag.
If you have fewer than 4 layers, please place the remaining bib numbers on the back of the layers you think are most likely to be on the outside during the last part of the event. This is in addition to the bib number that is already on the front.
If you have a water proof jacket, or other good jacket that you don't want to pierce with pins, you don't need to attach a bib number to it. But, please wear you bib number on the layer beneath the jacket and be prepared to "flash" your bib number at the finish line. Put a bib number for the water proof layer or good jacket in a pocket so that if you check it as excess clothing, you have a bib number to identify it.
We provide clear plastic bags at the start line, and at the first staffed water stop you encounter, to hold any clothes that you no longer need. For the marathon and 50km, you may also drop clothes off at the second staffed water stop.
Simply get a clear plastic bag from the Aid Station volunteer, place your excess clothes inside, making one of your bib numbers visible thru the bag, tie it shut and give it back to the Aid Station volunteer.
This is why we give you 4 identical bib numbers. Since "tops" are the most likely piece of clothing to remove, having a bib number already on the front of each layer makes this process quick and simple. Your bib number will identify the owner of the bag, and will be easily visible thru the clear plastic bag. We plan to have each bag at Lake Wobegon Trailhead in St Joseph 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 a rural location to watch. 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 few 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).
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.
An event hotel/lodging will be announced in early 2016.
There are several other motels nearby.
One way to find them is to Google "hotels st joseph mn".
Contact race director Dave Daubert.