Standing shoulder to shoulder in the cold Saturday air, 687 runners ‘toed the line’ ready to start their races. Under the sound of cannon fire from Fort Riley, the inaugural “Little Apple Marathon” was about to begin.
Out at Tuttle Creek State Park, marathon runners would a follow a 6 1/2 mile circuit four times in order to achieve the 26.2 mile goal.
Participants could also run a half marathon, a marathon relay and a 5K.
The marathon was organized by the Manhattan Running Company and sponsored by AIB International.
Manhattan Running Company is no stranger to hosting races. Later this month, they’ll host their annual Turkey Trot, and for the last 5 years have hosted the Bill Snyder Family Highway Half Marathon.
But throughout the entire history of Manhattan, there has never been a full length marathon, the Manhattan Running Company said.
Ben Sigle, co-owner of Manhattan Running Company, says that the length of the race alone has been a barrier.
“It takes a lot of volunteers and it takes a lot of area…so if you’re trying to do this in Manhattan you’d be shutting down a lot of traffic and causing a lot of disruption in town,” said Sigle.
Choosing to host the race in Tuttle Creek State Park, just outside of the city, was a solution to that, Sigle said.
While on the Boston Certified course, runners could enjoy the local scenery. Twisting through forest paths and farm plots made the course feel authentically Manhattan.
“I did like the loop course…it’s better for spectators…my mom, wherever she is, got to see us multiple times,” said Joe Moore, a K-State alumnus.
Joe and his father Marc Moore have been running for “as long as they can remember” and have each ran multiple marathons.
Two weeks ago Joe ran the Kansas City Half Marathon with a time of 1:08:01, coming in first place.
Joe Moore was the first Little Apple Marathon champion.
For Lori and Matt Anderson, who both ran the half marathon, finding time to run can sometimes be a challenge but they encourage anyone who is interested in running to find a way. The couple from Lincoln, Nebraska, have 3 kids.
“We try to optimize if we are taking a kid to an event we go run. You have to find the time somewhere.” Matt said
Lori brought up the fair point that, “If you have time to watch a TV show you have time to run.”