Get read to run!

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The inaugural running of Race the Joe! jet boat races are in the books and were deemed a success by organizers and the fans alike.

St. Maries and dozens of volunteers put their best foot forward as thousands of spectators lined the banks of the St. Joe River to watch the high-powered boats raced at speeds exceeding 100 MPH. The fastest boat, Unnatural Disaster, completed the 25-miles stretch between St. Maries and Calder in 14 minutes.

It will take even the fastest runners of the third annual St. Joe River Marathon much longer to complete the 26.2 miles of the race scheduled for June 9. Although the speeds are slower, the enthusiasm of runners, spectators, volunteers and the entire community will shine as bright.

The group that has organized the St. Joe River Marathon for the past two years has recently received 501(c)3 status and is now a charitable organization. The St. Joe River Marathon Foundation plans to provide financial assistance to local families with members who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Though the original intent of organizing the race had always been to benefit the community, organizers felt it pressing to complete the process after the cancer-related death of one of the race’s founders, Dr. John Thomson, last September.

“Obviously our committee suffered a huge loss with the passing of Dr. Thomson late last year,” Devon Barta of the race committee said. “He was the heart of our marathon. But, by remembering his enthusiasm and incorporating it into our plans, we believe he will remain the race’s spirit.”

Aside from the incorporation the event will have few changes this year. The children’s fun run will be June 8 and the 5K, half-marathon and marathon will be the following day.

Those who do not wish to participate in the race but still want to help with the cause can donate directly to the foundation or help sponsor the race.

Registration is still available online at www.stjoerivermarathon.com and on track to exceed races of previous years.

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