This Year's Beat the Elite Runner Has Been Announced!
Every year, towards the end of July, the Bix 7 Road Race is held in the streets of downtown Davenport, Iowa. This 7-mile race draws lots of attention, fanfare, and contestants from all parts of the globe, and is celebrated as the longest non-marathon road race in the Midwest.
Begun in 1975 by John Hudetz and a handful of other fitness conscious individuals, the inaugural Bix 7 was a far cry from the current cultural event it is today, and involved only 84 runners.
In fact, it almost didn’t even happen!
At the turn of the 70s, just as America was seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of people taking up running as a sport, John Hudetz and his fellow founders of the race took part in the Boston Marathon and were impressed by the atmosphere and texture of the event. From a desire to bring a little bit of that atmosphere home, the founders thought of a race that would be held in conjunction with Davenport’s annual Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival.
But it was easier said than done.
The city government was sceptical about granting a permit for the event that would allow the race to take place on city streets. But Hudetz was able to persuade the Davenport police chief to change his mind by telling him he could fire a 12 gauge shotgun as the starting gun. Then, to create space for their event, the organizers had to move a bunch of tables from a local street fair out of the way.
These moments of creativity triumphed and today anywhere between twelve to eighteen thousand people from all over the world participate in the annual race which has grown into something of a spectacle.
Runners hardly find themselves running over level ground during the course which makes the race particularly challenging.
The Bix 7 is one of the largest non-marathon purses in the US, offering thousands of dollars to be won by contestants. Also, men and women have the same prize structure, with the first prize being $12,500.
There are special prizes awarded to top ten finishers in both the men and women divisions, and special awards for the top three finishers in the master’s division (41 years+).
This year, Isle Casino Hotel® Bettendorf will sponsor the “Beat the Elite Runner,” Joy Ripslinger. As a civilian, and not a professional racer, she will be allowed to start at the halfway point of the race, in the attempt to finish before the professional racers, who will begin at the start. If she does, she will raise $2,500 for charity!
Her name was drawn at random from the list of those who registered. We wish her all the best