edr_cheer_below_300pixCentraCare Earth Day Run weekend is here! Saturday morning, we are expecting more than 1,700 athletes to compete in the SCHEELS Half Marathon and Half Marathon Relay. While lots of work has gone into making sure the athletes get what they need for race day, we certainly don’t want to forget all the ways that friends, family and other spectators play a big role in our event.

All the cheering and support along the route by fans goes a long way into making the Earth Day Run a memorable experience for everyone. And spectators can do more than just watch to take part in the weekend. There’s lots for the whole family to do on Friday night and Saturday after the race is over.

Here are a few tips for all of our spectators this weekend.

Great places to watch the action

If you’re not familiar with the full course, download our SCHEELS Half Marathon map (PDF). Here are a couple great places to watch your favorite athlete on Saturday.

  • Follow University Bridge for multiple views. After the runners start across the University Bridge, walk across the Mississippi River to catch the athletes in two spots. First, just before Mile 3, runners will run through Riverside Park and cross under the bridge. Then take the stairs to watch runners cross back over the University Bridge just after Mile 4. Finally, when you return to St. Cloud State’s campus, you can catch the runners going under the University Bridge again near Mile 6. From there, you are a very short walk to Husky Stadium where you can wait at the finish line.
  • On St. Cloud State’s Campus. If you don’t want to cross the river after the starting line, just head north onto St. Cloud State’s campus to wait for the runners to come to you. While waiting, kids can find some space to run around at Barden Park or check out the plethora of Pokestops. Just keep aware of your surroundings so you don’t miss the runners when they pass by shortly before Mile 5.
  • The Beaver Island Trail. The start of second half of the SCHEELS Half Marathon follows the Beaver Island Trail, a paved trail that follows the Mississippi River. Because it’s free from traffic, it’s a very peaceful and scenic spot on the course. But that also can make it difficult for spectators to reach. So, runners really appreciate the support of the fans along this section. To get to the Beaver Island Trail, just start walking south from St. Cloud State after the start of the race. The runners will get on the trail just after Mile 6. Or, if you want to hop in your car and drive along Clearwater Road, park where you can find a spot around Sportsman Island Road. From there, you can walk down the trail and catch the runners just before Mile 8. Then, you can also then climb up back up to Clearwater Road and cheer on the runners again just after Mile 10.
  • The route to the finish. Of course, it’s great to be at Husky Stadium when the runners make it to the end of their journey. But where runners REALLY need some encouragement is that last mile or two. If you have a chance to walk up from the National Hockey Center to 16th St. South or all the way to Clearwater Road — let the runners know that the end is near.

Take part in the El-Jay Plumbing & Heating Post-Race Party

Whether it’s after Friday night’s 5K or Saturday morning’s half marathon, be sure to take time to enjoy the El-Jay Plumbing & Heating Post-Race Party located at the finish line. It’s not just for the runners! Everyone can take part! The event features food, beer and live music. Walter Wheelhouse will be playing on Friday night. And the Shalo Lee Band will be playing on Saturday.

All Post-Race Party attendees must bring a photo ID for alcoholic beverage service. For your convenience, we will have an ID/key drop area nearby so you can safely store items onsite.

Evin Haukos
Community Wellness Events Specialist
CentraCare Health Foundation