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Valley O.NE expected to draw elite athletes to flat marathon course

Valley O.NE expected to draw elite athletes to flat marathon course

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Omaha’s newest marathon is set to draw elite athletes from across the country to compete on an extremely flat course.

The Valley O.NE Marathon, set for April 24, will take runners on a 13.1-mile loop that starts in downtown Valley, which is about 35 minutes from downtown Omaha. The race includes half and full marathon distances.

Originally branded as the Valley 7 Lakes Marathon, the race was supposed to be held in 2019 but was canceled because of extensive flooding. It was canceled again last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, organizers have partnered with the Omaha Sports Commission to host the event.

“It was great timing to bring the two entities together,” said Lindsay Toussant, director of events for the Omaha Sports Commission. “We’re very excited about where the event’s going and the individuals we’re bringing in.”

The race, a Boston Marathon qualifier, also will host the U.S. Paralympic Team selection event for ambulatory marathon classifications.

Among the elite athletes the race has drawn are Caroline Rotich, the 2015 Boston Marathon champion; Callum Hawkins, a Scottish record holder; and distance running standouts Jake Riley, Lindsay Flanagan and Parker Stinson.

Toussant said the race, which has a five-hour time limit, is meant to draw more elite athletes. It won’t draw the same numbers as the Chicago or New York City Marathons, which attract tens of thousands of runners, but she said organizers expect the quality of the race to be the same as those larger events.

Registration for the Valley race is closed, but members of the public are invited to cheer on runners on race day. Spectators will see some of the top athletes in the nation at the event, Toussant said.

“You can’t see it around here all the time,” she said. “Come out, cheer them on.”

Omaha World-Herald: Live Well

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