Iowa City Downtown District hosts first road-race series

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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The skies cleared up just in time for the Marketplace Stampede 3K on Sunday; the race started in downtown Iowa City and moved though the North Side, with nearly 100 participants in attendance.

Rain lingered on, however, 800 miles away in Boulder, Colo., where officials estimate at least 300 people to be missing and six likely dead because of intense flooding affecting the area throughout the past week.

“The race was inspired by Boulder, and they’re really struggling out there right now,” said Joe Hughes, the race organizer.

A former resident of the city of roughly 100,000, Hughes derived his idea for the road race from the Downtown Boulder Race Series.

Money raised by the races will go to University of Iowa Dance Marathon and Young Life Iowa City, in addition to a donation to the American Red Cross toward flood recovery efforts in Colorado.

Two more races are planned to take place downtown over the next six weeks.

“We strived to be different, change things up, and bring people down to the community and make it an entire community event,” Hughs said.

Although unconventional for most road races, he said, this race’s intention was to have fun and be inclusive.

A shorter kid’s race took place after the main event.

Nate Canton of North Liberty had a 3-year-old and 1-year-old participate in the race.

“I think it’s good for them to see it and be around it,” he said. “It creates a fun atmosphere for everybody.”

Charlie Paul, a first-year medical student at the UI, was the first to finish the race. He had run track and cross-country as an undergraduate at Iowa State.

“It’s great getting people involved with the downtown here and issues nationwide as well,” he said. “Something like that is just devastating for the people there.”

The race series will continue Oct. 6 with the Presidential Mile, before finishing up Oct. 27 with the Iowa Avenue 2K. The final race will be in costume in observance of Halloween.

— by Shianne Gruss

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