Our History

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Brief History of the Mankato Marathon:
Mankato is home to more than 50 miles of paved trails, more than 600 acres of quality parks, and miles of low-traffic, wide-shouldered country roads; all nestled into the scenic Minnesota River Valley. Combine all that with the vibrant autumn colors of the trees and the cool, crisp air of fall; you couldn’t describe a better place to host a marathon weekend.

The idea for a marathon in Mankato was whispered by local runners for a long time. But the seed that was planted by local marathoner, Chris Schull, finally took root with Greater Mankato Growth and the City of Mankato. In 2008, representatives from the Verizon Civic Center, City of Mankato, Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, and Twin Rivers Council for the Arts met to discuss a new event that would be brought to the newly developed Riverfront Park. The event would include arts, music and a marathon. However, through the planning meetings it became evident that an arts event, now known as Arts by the River, and a marathon could not live together because either component could become very large on its own. At that point it was decided that Visit Mankato would take responsibility for figuring out how to put on the marathon.

Visit Mankato staff began shopping for a race management company and landed on Final Stretch, Inc. out of Nerstrand, Minnesota. They had a great reputation, were experienced and were interested in split ownership of the event between Visit Mankato and themselves.

Planning began in late 2008. For the first couple of years, local marathoners were at the heart of all planning for the marathon. Their feedback was invaluable as a foundation was set. The biggest decisions focused on the course, race distances and date. They decided to make the Mankato Marathon the last marathon in Minnesota where one could qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The weekend of October 23, 2010 saw 2,200 runners, almost 1,000 volunteers and an estimated 8,000 spectators for the inaugural Mankato Marathon. The tremendous amount feedback from the community and runners was overwhelmingly positive; which encouraged ownership that the Mankato Marathon was here to stay.

By 2013, the Mankato Marathon had been named Minnesota’s Top Marathon Worth Traveling For by TripAdvisor. A few of the main reasons why the Mankato Marathon earned this title was because of the Sport & Health Expo, the Toddler Trot and the Diaper Dash and the fall colors running along the river. “The list is not about the oldest race. It is about the best reviews, the enjoyment and the overall experience of the people in attendance,” said by TripAdvisor.

In 2015 the finish line was moved to Front St. to show off the newly revitalized downtown Mankato.

In 2016, the Mankato Marathon added My Bold Walk, a 0.6-mile walk for people who may not be able to participate in races because of physical inactivity, chronic disease, or disability but are looking to get involved in a supported event.

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