Between Grandma’s Marathon, The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, and the William A. Irvin 5K, there are plenty of different ways for runners from all over the world to participate in the marathon weekend in Duluth. For 2017, a new alternative marathon was introduced—The Paul Bunyan Log-Roll Marathon.
Unlike the upright bipedal form used for traditional running, athletes participating in the Paul Bunyon Marathon must travel a dizzying 26.2 miles by rolling on their sides for the entire distance.
The pace for this new race was set this year by Finnish roller Jens Korhonen with a completion time of 9:12:15.
“The log-rolling is hell on our bodies,” Korhonen said before the starting gun this morning. “I sometimes chuckle at the traditional runners when they complain about their nipples bleeding. When you log roll, everything bleeds! But I’m not a complete masochist, so I hope that there is a lot of rain today. Unlike traditional runners who need to apply water to their body via sponges as aid stations, we log rollers can continuously absorb moisture from the ground as we roll over it. So a nice rainy day is always preferable.”
Korhonen then went on to point out that he preferred how the wind isn’t much of a factor in his times, as he has a very low, aerodynamic profile while rolling.
“I’m so glad that this kind of race is finally catching on in America to give me a chance to race in your country, went on. “These alternate marathons have started to become popular with athletes in Scandinavia who are looking for something a little different than traditional running. I hope that in the upcoming years we will also be able to see some bear walk and crab crawl races as well in Duluth. Many of my athlete friends specialize in these styles and would love to have more races around the globe to be able to participate in.”
Four rollers from two nations participated in the 2017 Paul Bunyon Log-Roll Marathon. Amber Schmidt from Bemidji, Minnesota finished as the fastest female at 10:32:43.