On your marks, get set … fly

Birdtown Half Marathon returns Saturday, May 20

By Laci Gagliano
Sun Post Newspapers

It’s once again time for runners to lace up their running shoes for the annual Birdtown Half Marathon 8 a.m- 12 p.m. Saturday, May 20. The annual event will turn several Robbinsdale neighborhoods into a half-day celebration of strength, endurance, perseverance and community as runners of all skill levels take to the streets to attempt a half marathon, 8K or 4K while spectators take to their lawns to cheer the runners on.

As the race approaches its fourth year, Co-Director Emily Pearl reflected on what makes the day so memorable for people throughout the city.

“What’s amazing about Robbinsdale is we have this amazing community. There’s a huge portion of volunteers, everybody from manning a water stop to cheering and pointing people in the right direction. The community support makes it a lot of fun,” she said.

Pearl said the event is designed to provide a race in the springtime that would celebrate Robbinsdale, so it’s ideal that people get involved whether they’re running or not.

“It’s the Twin Cities’ best kept secret,” she said of the city. “We all just love to run, so we decided to throw our own (race).”

She said the marathon sells out every year. A total of 650 running slots are filled, with 50 of the slots being devoted to a Little Birdie Fun Run for children under age 10, making the race a true all-ages event.

“It’s intensely family-friendly,” Pearl said.

Organizers tout the event as being focused on the community element more than trying to win a race. The encouragement from people not in the race is a major part of the festivities, according to Pearl.

“The more people get out with neighbors to celebrate, spectate, and cheer it on, the better. We encourage people to sit out on their lawns and watch,” she said.

The race begins and ends at Lakeview Terrace Park. Previous races have wound through various neighborhood streets, into Golden Valley, Crystal, and Brooklyn Center, and along Sanborn and Sochacki parks.

This year, Wicked Wort will offer a free beer to every runner who is 21 or older. The brewery, which also sponsors the event, will be host an onsite beer garden selling pints, and will host an after party for the community.

Runners are encouraged to arrive at least 40 minutes in advance of the race start to complete registration. Another of the race’s sponsors, Performance Meals, will provide protein shots and coffee date bars for runners after the race.

What: The Birdtown Half Marathon
When: Saturday May 20; times vary by distance and ability.
Where: Lakeview Terrace Park, 3769 Crystal Lake Blvd., Robbinsdale.
Details: thebirdtown.com

Contact Laci Gagliano at [email protected]