ST. CLOUD -- The plans for the 20th annual Earth Day Run continue to take shape with a new location in downtown St. Cloud. Race Director Evin Haukos says the recently announced route for the half-marathon is something that took a lot of time to create.

He says the runners will take off from the Veterans Bridge, and the run will end on West St. Germain Street, which will be blocked off to traffic from the Paramount Theatre to the Convention Center.

We were saying if we're going to move this downtown our course has to be awesome.  One of the main aspects is the finish line, we really wanted it to be a worthy finish line.  It took a little while to work with the city and see how we could make that happen, and we got it.

Haukos says his vision is to have spectators pack both sides of St. Germain Street cheering on the runners as they approach the finish line.

Haukos says registrations are up about 30 to 40 percent from the same time last year. He says there's been a lot of excitement about the new course, and the move to downtown.

The downtown that's just the heart of St. Cloud and we want to showcase that.  Our whole intent of this event and moving it downtown is we want to be the start of the running season in Minnesota, and we're just about there.  A lot of people are learning about the event at the Twin Cities Marathon and they're saying let's head to St. Cloud before we do the Fargo Marathon or before we head to Duluth.

This year's Health and Fitness Expo will be inside the River's Edge Convention Center, which Haukos says will be 20,000 square feet larger than in previous years.

The band Walter's Wheelhouse will be playing at the post-race party on Friday night, and the band IV Play will be playing at the post-race party on Saturday morning.

If you want to register for the half-marathon, half-marathon relay, the 5K, or the kids 1K early bird registration is open through this Monday. Entry fees will continue to go up closer to the run weekend.

The Earth Day Run in St. Cloud is April 19th and 20th.

For its first 19 years, the Earth Day Run weekend was held at St. Cloud State University.

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