The Twin Cities Marathon, originally scheduled for early October, usually draws upwards of 8,000 runners and some 300,000 enthusiastic spectators spread along the 26.2-mile route. It’s annually one of the largest marathons in the U.S. and often dubbed as “the most beautiful urban marathon in America.”

But with the coronavirus still looming, the 2020 Twin Cities Marathon went virtual this year, encouraging self-scheduled events and self-reported times among registered runners. So, this past Saturday a group of local runners ran their own marathon along the Dakota Regional Trail between St. Bonifacius and New Germany.

There were just 15 runners, buoyed by a few dozen supporters, but there was nearly as much enthusiasm and beauty as the full TCM.

Running in her second marathon, 2014 Waconia High School graduate Sydney Morton led a group of other area runners called Team Trinity in their own personal challenge and a common goal to raise funds for a humanitarian group to bring clean water to children and communities in developing countries.

Trinity Lutheran in Waconia supports the group, called World Vision and its missions to meet vital needs like clean water, nutritious food, education, medical care, economic opportunity and spiritual development.

Morton, now a dental hygienist, ran cross-country and track in high school, but last year marked her first marathon running with the Trinity team. Morton struggles with asthma, but said she felt compelled by World Vision’s mission to provide safe drinking water to impoverished people to challenge herself to run again this year.

“Water is something we take for granted, but that’s not the case in many countries,” she said. “If little children can walk three miles every day to retrieve water, this is a challenge I can undertake to help provide better and cleaner water for these kids and their families.”

Through community partnerships in Africa, Central and South America and other points worldwide, World Vision drills wells and helps manage water resources to provide safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene for nearly 7 million people, who otherwise struggle with scarce supplies and potentially contaminated drinking water.

Team Trinity raised some $24,000 for World Vision through their marathon participation this year.

All local runners finished their 10- or 26-mile challenges this year, although conditions were quite a bit different than last year’s TCM, Morton reported Monday.

In the 2019 marathon, Morton and other runners felt buoyed by the thousands of spectators cheering all along the route. This past Saturday, “there were many moments when we were running alone,” she said.

“A cheering crowd really helps your mental game, especially those final miles,” said Morton, who indicated that local runners were grateful for the few dozen supporters who cheered and staffed water/nutrition stops along the way. Also, the support of each other as they crossed paths along the regional trail route.

In addition to team captain Morton, Team Trinity runners included Mark Busse, Jeff Pingeon, Josh Bernau, Becky Bernau, Laura Senst, Elizabeth Perry, Megan Gruis, Jason Loomis, Tami Schmieg, Adam Maser, Erik Strand, Lily Kraemer, Tracy Kraemer, Kelly Kraemer, Mary Bonde, Alison Maser, Patricia Maser, Aaron Loomis and Chin Kwok.

While the TCM marathon is over for this year, there is still time to support the marathon team. To find out more information and make a donation, go to the Team World Vision website:

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