ST. CLOUD - Thousands of runners engaged in the 2017 CentraCare Health Earth Day 1/2 Marathon.

The festivities kicked off Friday with the Feeling Good MN Health and Fitness Expo in the St. Cloud State University Field House. Friday also saw multiple races for kids. The races to kick-off the weekend drew over 800 kids.

Saturday morning the Scheel's 1/2 Marathon started at 8:30 a.m. Event organizer John Inkster say's the event this weekend brought thousands of runners.

"1,700 (runners) in the 1/2 marathon and the 1/2 marathon relay. For the 5k and 5k corporate challenge we had almost 1,900 runners. In addition to those two adult age groups we have a specific race for kids 12 and under. There was around 600-700 kids in that race."

The Earth Day Run started modestly but has grown into an entire weekend of events. Some of the events include live music, a beer garden, health and fitness expo, and a post race party.

All the added entertainment has quickly made the event a staple of the St. Cloud community.

"Absolutely a great community weekend event, we want to be festive try to showcase some good health and wellness ant the community and be excited about. Try to get more people more active more active and exposed to more healthy alternatives."

Runner's, old and young, finished near the 50-yard-line at Husky Stadium. Racer's were greeted by hundred of supporters all the way from the start to the end.

CentraCare and other organizers are already looking to 2018 and have the weekend festivities planned for April 18, 19 and 20th.

The winner for the men's 1/2 marathon is Jonathan Stoltman with a time of 1:14:17. For the women the winner is St. Cloud's Katie Rusch with a time of 1:25:53.

Justin LaBounty WJON