Friday, July 17, 2015

Hancock Canal Run to celebrate 40th anniversary July 18

A runner heads for the Finish line on Quincy Street in Hancock during the 2014 Canal Run. More than 800 participants are expected for this year's race, which celebrates 40 years of the event. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK -- The Hancock Canal Run is celebrating 40 years on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The Canal Run was started in 1975 and has grown to become the U.P.’s largest race, with over 800 participants this year. The race includes a 5-mile walk, 5-mile run, 10-mile walk, 10-mile run and half marathon.

Last-minute registration for participants will be available from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. TODAY, Friday, July 17, at Finlandia Hall on Finlandia University's campus. Click here for details.

The 10-mile walk will start at 7:15 a.m., half marathon at 7:30 a.m., 10-mile run at 8 a.m., 5-mile walk at 8:55 a.m. and 5-mile run at 8:50 a.m. Click here for the race map.

Shuttle service will begin at 6 a.m. Saturday. Participants should plan on boarding the shuttle about an hour before their race is scheduled to start.

Runners board the early-morning shuttle bus from downtown Hancock (in front of the Finnish American Heritage Center) to the start point of their race. (2014 Keweenaw Now photo)

A pre-race pasta dinner will be served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TODAY, Friday, July 17, at Finlandia Hall, put on by the Keweenaw Co-op. Dinner is $10 for adults, $5 for children (6-12 years old) and free for children under 6.

The Kids' Dash -- free for all kids -- will once again be a quarter-mile sprint taking place on the same course racers will come down, including having kids go through the finish-line chute. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. near Krist Oil (formerly Citgo), with the first wave beginning at 10:15 a.m. The course is closed from traffic, is not timed, has no age limits and all participants will receive a Canal Run Kids' Dash finisher's medal.

Participants in the 2014 Canal Run enjoy snacks served by volunteers after the race on the Quincy Green in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Bob Olson founded the run in 1975. Olson, an avid runner, owned WMPL radio at the time. For several years he ran the event with his family and a couple volunteers. The well-run race continued to grow, and after a few years Olson contacted Ken Seaton, president of D and N Bank, which signed on to sponsor and support the event.

With the support of D and N Bank, which is now FirstMerit Bank, the race continued to grow. In the early 2000s Portage Health (2007) and Finlandia University (2010) signed on to help the event. In 2009 the race was expanded to include a five-mile option. In 2013 a half marathon was added.

The race is self-sustaining, bringing in enough money in registration fees and sponsorships to cover all the costs. Since 2011, the organizing committee has donated $7,000 to area non-profit organizations.

Volunteers may still be needed. Click here for info on volunteering or see our notice in the Keweenaw Now News Briefs, right-hand column.

Visit the Canal Run Web site for more details.

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