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O’Round the Loch Run set for March 18, come rain, shine or snow

March 10, 2017

Come rain, shine or even a blizzard, the 37th Annual O’Round the Loch Run will happen Saturday, March 18, in Emmetsburg.

And that’s not an idle boast. Writer Darin Partridge, better known as the Fifty State Runner for completing a half-marathon in every state, wrote about a wintry O’Round the Loch a year ago in his book, “Running America.”

“The picture they had on the internet site had a picture of this little lake in the middle of what looked like summer,” Partridge writes in his Iowa entry. “They are in the death grip of a winter storm today.”

Race organizers are hoping for better weather to prevail for this year’s four events: the half-marathon, the 10K, the 5K and a 1.7 mile Fun Run/Walk.

“It’s an early race,” said Deb Knight, assistant to the director of the Arther and Audrey Smith Wellness Center. “It’s also a deceptive race, because you never know what the weather will be like.”

Most years, there’s no blizzard, and whether the March weather is lamblike or lionlike, plenty of people turn up to run or walk O’Round the Loch.

“We had 500 runners one year,” Knight said, noting the race’s growth over its 36 years. “In the beginning, we used to be tickled when we had, all together, 125.”

Even under difficult weather conditions, runners can have fun.

“The weather was definitely different than I expected but I’m super glad that (they) still ran the race,” Partridge said. “I loved lining up with the other runners who dared to run a challenging race in insane conditions. It shows moxie/character.”

He would love to run the event again, and particularly remembers the friendly staff and the local feel of the race.

The O’Round the Loch Run is sponsored by the Smith Wellness Center and Iowa Lakes Community College. It’s part of the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Emmetsburg, which also includes: a talent program, an Irish stew dinner, an Irish tea, a parade, a banquet, a dance and an Irish Mass.

The races start and finish at the Smith Wellness Center, with the half marathon beginning at 8:30 a.m., the 10K at 8:40 a.m., the 5K at 9 a.m. and the Fun Run/Walk at 9:10 a.m. No pets are allowed on any of the courses, but strollers are permitted in the Fun Run/Walk.

Trophies will be awarded to overall men’s and women’s winners in each race, and medals will be given to first-, second- and third-place winners in each of seven age divisions.

To register for the O’Round the Loch Run, visit, click “Smith Wellness Center” and then “Events.” Prior to noon on March 17, registration costs $30; after that through the day of the event, the price is $45.

For more information, visit or contact Deb Knight at 712-852-5281.

Runners begin the 36th Annual O’Round the Loch Run in 2016. Writer Darin Partridge, the Fifty State Runner, is in the center of the image, wearing an orange shirt and a black headband.

For More Information:

 Deb Knight at 712-852-5281.

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