NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — North Platte had never hosted a full-length marathon.
However, that all changed on the morning of Saturday October 8th, as the city saw 42 runners lace up their sneakers and tackle the 26.2 mile course. The race is run in connection with the Autumn River Run, which started 10 years ago. Over the years, the event has grown and it now honors the memory a local man, who loved to run.
“Chris Jarvis, fire fighter and local running pioneer, asked if we would add a half marathon to the event,” said Trudy Merritt, who is the co-race director. “… He did run in that first marathon. He passed away shortly after that and its taken us about seven years to get the point where we really felt like the community was ready for a marathon.”
The first half-marathon was run in 2010 and in 2011 it became a memorial run for Jarvis. The event now includes a 5K, half-marathon and full marathon. Natasha Burch, Jarvis’s daughter, is the event’s co-director and she was very pleased with the turn out.
“We can almost say that we’re coast to coast,” Burch said. “We have runners from Pennsylvania, California, Ohio [and] Wisconsin.”
One of those out-of-state runners is Nikolas Toocheck, who flew in from Philadelphia with his dad on the morning of the race. Toocheck, 13, is a seasoned runner and has already completed numerous marathons.
“I’ve kind of always been ready,” Toocheck explained. “It’s not as much about the training anymore since I’ve done almost 50 [marathons].”
In fact, Toocheck has participated in a marathon on every continent.
“I think the most unique [place I’ve run in was] Antarctica, which I did when I was nine,” Toocheck said.
It’s Toocheck’s goal to run a marathon in every state. Lastly, the man and woman who finished the marathon first received a $500 cash prize.