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Recreation Sports

Eau Yeah: Eau Claire Marathon Laces Up With New Options

Bridge2Bridge will include three races in May

Rebecca Mennecke, photos by Branden Nall |

BACK ON THE TRAIL. Participants in the 2018 Eau Claire Marathon.
BACK ON THE TRAIL. Participants in the 2018 Eau Claire Marathon.

Runners of the Chippewa Valley, rejoice! The Eau Claire Marathon is kicking off with a new, COVID-friendly race series: Bridge2Bridge, which will highlight the stunning bridges of Eau Claire during the first weekend of May.

While the traditional marathon weekend is postponed to Sept. 25-26, runners can enjoy three in-person races from May 1-2: a one-mile race for adults, kids, and dogs; a five-mile race with an emphasis on the many Eau Claire bridges; and a 10-mile race. The Sweet 16 Challenge encourages racers to try all three.

“With gyms shut down, a lot of people took up running and walking that are very new to it,” said Emi Uelmen, the marathon’s race director. “So now we’re giving them that opportunity to come see what getting together and racing is all about.”

With gyms shut down, a lot of people took up running and walking that are very new to it. So now we’re giving them that opportunity to come see what getting together and racing is all about.

EMI UELMEN

race director, eau claire marathon

The spring race includes a smaller capacity (with only about 1,000 runners in total) and staggered start times to encourage social distancing. All three races (pending the Eau Claire City Council’s approval) will take place along the Chippewa River State Trail, and highlights bridges such as the Grand Avenue bridge, Lake Street bridge, Chippewa River State Trail bridge, as well as the UW-Eau Claire footbridge, the High Bridge, and Phoenix Park bridge. “For us,” Uelmen said, “May has turned into our being able to adapt what other people have wanted and another way of showcasing Eau Claire.”

As for the summer, the Eau Claire Marathon planning committee plans to continue the virtual fEAUrth of July 5K/10K race on July 3-5. “It’s not just racing,” she said. “We want live to get back to normal, in some way, shape, or form.”

To keep up to date with the Eau Claire Marathon and upcoming races, visit eauclairemarathon.com.