HANCOCK – The registration numbers speak for themselves. Reality trumps virtual reality at least in the local racing world.
Just ask Angela Luskin, race director of the 46th edition of the Canal Run which will take place on Saturday in Hancock. After having to take a virtual run in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said people were eager to meet again.
“My entire team is delighted to be back and participate in person. said Luskin, health and fitness manager at UP-Health Portage. “The Canal Run has become a flagship event in the Keweenaw. People want to go out.
She added that this year’s registration for the various races will far exceed the 250 virtual runners in 2020 as well as the 688 runners who ran in 2019.
“We already have 650 registered runners and registrations will continue until Saturday”, she said. “We are doing a virtual race again this year, but we only have two people registered. It tells me that people are ready to participate in real time.
Started in 1975 by avid runner and then radio station owner Bob Olson, the Canal Run features a number of runs of varying lengths and styles along the Portage Lake Canal. These include a half marathon, 10 mile walk or run, five mile walk or run, and two mile fun walk or run. There is also a wheelchair half-marathon and a five-mile blade race for amputees.
Luskin added that there were some additional safety precautions this year. This includes not having more than 100 runners at the start of a race at a time. There will be no children’s race as in the past, and participants are requested to wear masks on the shuttle to and from the start area.
“We will be giving out individual prizes but there will be no prize-giving ceremony”, she added. “We are delighted to be back and want to keep everyone safe. “
Since 2011, the Canal Run organizing committee has donated to a non-profit organization in the region as part of its Canal Run Gives Back program. This year, proceeds will go to Omega House in Houghton, which cares for the terminally ill and provides end-of-life care to those in need.
“The planning went well and the support was great” Luskin added. “We are ready to run.