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Seeking the Best in the Midwest


Carving out a special place for aspiring Midwestern runners at a top Midwestern marathon only seems natural. After all, Midwestern runners have long seen the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon as a place to establish their name in the running world.


In 1991, Janis Klecker used a victory at her hometown marathon as a step to becoming an Olympian in 1992, just as 2019 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon runner-up Dakotah Lindwurm claimed a spot on the U.S. marathon team for Paris this summer. Past men’s champions like Phil Coppess (Iowa), the longtime course record holder, and Bill Donakowski (Michigan) were consistent contenders on the U.S. road racing circuit in their time.


In that spirit, this year’s Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 6 will host the inaugural Best of the Midwest Invitational, as part of its professional athlete prize structure. The race will offer support to aspiring marathoners from twelve Midwestern states as they seek to join the ranks of nationally and internationally competitive marathoners.


Joining the professional athletes invited to the race from around the world, Midwestern athletes accepted into the Best of the Midwest Invitational field will be featured in the “race within a race” and will compete for a dedicated prize purse totaling $20,000 (part of a $79,000+ marathon prize purse, including wheelchair athletes) and receive full professional athlete amenities.


2022 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon women’s champion Jessica Watychowicz of Illinois and Minnesota Distance Elite’s Kevin Lewis have already been accepted into the Best of the Midwest Invitational field. 


“I am thrilled to be returning to the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon this fall as the defending champion,” Watychowicz said. “As an athlete with Midwest roots, I am also excited to be part of the Best of the Midwest Invitational as well. This invitational is a great way to encourage participation from the strong pool of runners from all over the Midwest."


Athletes wishing to apply for the Best of the Midwest Invitational can learn more and apply here.

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