Ely Marathon makes a record-setting return

New mark set in canoe portage division, more than 1,100 take part in various races

by Tom Coombe
Another world record was set as the Ely Marathon returned after a one-year hiatus.
The 26.2-mile race from the Echo Trail to Whiteside Park, which included 14 participants who carried a canoe, was the signature event of a weekend that included more than 1,100 particpiants - also an event record.
Anthony Peter of Mounds View shattered his own world-best by nearly 40 minutes and won the marathon’s canoe portage division, completing the course in four hours, 23 minutes and 20 seconds.
Four others completed the 26.2-mile race in the portage division, which has become a popular niche as part of the marathon festivities in Ely.
Big crowds gathered Saturday at Whiteside Park, which served as the finish line for the various races and also included food trucks, a beer tent, live music and children’s activities.
The full marathon attracted 201 participants and 125 finishers and was won by 40-year-old Andrew McNamara of Goodhue, who finished in 3:09:02.
The top female finisher was Lisa Smith, 39, of Hibbing. She was about a minute-and-a-half behind at 3:10:46. In third was Jacob Roberts, 34, of Roseville in 3:19:16.
Turnout was even stronger for the Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon a 13.1-mile race that also concluded at the park.
The half marathon had 315 finishers out of 475 participants, with Brad Ryland, 35, of Minneapolis taking first in 1:16:56.
The next two finishers were Gerit Livingston, 19, of Duluh, in 1:18:19, followed by Deer River’s William Sackett, 33, 1:24:05.
Behind Peter in the full marathon portage division were Ely’s Nick Gardner, who finished second in 4:32:02, with third place going to Jacob Bendel, 30, of Proctor, in 4:32:30.
Craig Sinclair, 61, of Waconia, won the portage division of the half marathon, which had 10 starters and four finishers. He carried the canoe and 13.1 miles in 3:03:34.
Children were invited to run the last 1.2 miles of the marathon course and also crossed the finish line in the park, with top finishers including Ely’s Wyatt Devine (8:32), Mattie Lindsay (8:39) and Caleb Ebert (9:05).
The night before, 350 people started and 291 finished the 5K Northern Lights Glow Run.
The event kicked off the weekend in style, with Eddie Carlson, 23, of Bemidji winning in 16:55.
Babbitt’s Cameron Posey, 16, was the runner-up in 20:40, while longtime Ely boys track coach Will Helms, 58, took third (20:56).
Started and coordinated by Ely’s Stone Soup Events, the marathon and its affiliated races brought visitors from around the region, across Minnesota and beyond, and required the work of an army of volunteers.
The event was cancelled in 2020 because of Covid-19.