ST. JOSEPH - It may be a race, but no running was allowed during the annual We Walk! Marathon-Half Marathon-50k.

The event is just for walking. The only major rule for the competition is that you need to have at least one shoe on the ground at any given time. The full marathon starts in Melrose on the Lake Wobegon Trail and ends in St. Joseph. Half marathon and 50k races were also options for walkers.

Some racers walk as fast as they can, while others can take a more laid back approach. The race was open to speed walkers, ordinary walkers, Nordic walkers, hikers and those who use the Galloway run-walk-run method.

Anita Macias-Howard won the half marathon race and has been competing in the We Walk! race since it started. She says the race-walking community is very open and supportive.

"It's competitive-we all want to do well, but we're very supportive of each other," Macias-Howard says, "The race-walkers I think are a little more laid back and have a different kind of perspective."

The race is designed to be laid back and open for everyone. Course directors say the race can often be less-intimidating than regular marathons and puts less pressure on those who need to walk. Additional information on the race can be found online here.


Anita Macias-Howard finished in 1st place for the half-marathon race. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)
The We Walk! full marathon course starts in Melrose and ends in St. Joseph. (Google Maps)