Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The popularity of run/walk events in the Twin Cities – a metro area known for its runners – has skyrocketed in recent years and it’s creating extra work for city permitting departments.
From the easy jog, to the all-out sprint, you can find every type of runner along the chain of lakes in Minneapolis.
“I’m very crazy,” Adela Oliva said, as she ran along Lake of the Isles. “I really like it. I do two marathons per year.”
In Minneapolis, the permitting department deals with two to three race permit applications every day.
In St. Paul, even mid-week events like Wednesday’s cycling race, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, account for a 35 percent increase in race applications.
“We try to manage these events with officers and reserve officers, but it’s gotten to the point where you almost need a full-time event staff to do these events,” said Sgt. John Lozoya of the St. Paul Police Department.
The demand can be a challenge as race routes often require road closures and police presence.
“We like them,” Lozoya said. “It just takes a lot of logistics; a lot of planning.”
The trade-off is more options for a racing community that’s already running full speed ahead.
“If there weren’t races, I probably wouldn’t be running,” Oliva said. “I started running because of a race.”
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation board did decide to limit the number of race/walk events to just two per month, per park property. The board was getting too many requests to support the races.
The city of Minneapolis permits separately from the Park and Rec board, so the challenge becomes fewer options on park property means more races on Minneapolis city streets.