Paavo Nurmi Marathon

Paavo Nurmi Marathon, The Next 50 Years....Since 1969 the Paavo Nurmi Marathon has challenged runners from all over. 26.2 miles of hills, humidity, and heat make the course one of a kind. After celebrating the historic marking of 50 years, the race committee is excited to announce a new course route and bike event to the Paavo weekend!

The brand new course starting and ending on Silver Street in downtown Hurley will now create a new unique out and back course with a twist. The course will offer a safe, northern rustic experience through the historic communities along the way. Planning the new route has been a challenging experience for the committee, working to keep the traditional feel of the Paavo while finding a safer way for participants to explore Northern Iron County.

The Full Marathon and relays will begin on Silver Street while the Half Marathon begins at mile marker 13.1 (located on Hwy. Cty E) all at 7:30am Saturday August 10th, 2019.
Take a video tour through the first 49 years of Paavo!  Watch this video and find your favorite memories!!

History of "The Paavo"

Where were you in 1969? If you were in northern Wisconsin during the summer of '69 you could have seen or even run in the first-ever Paavo Nurmi Marathon. If you weren't here for that running-plan now to come to Hurley, Wisconsin for the annual running of the Paavo Nurmi Marathon, always held on the second Saturday in August.

It was August of 1969 that Dr. Thomas Rosandich, who ran an intensive athletic training camp in the northwoods of Iron County, Wisconsin, had gathered about 70 of his athletes and charted a course that took them 26 miles, 385 yards North to Hurley, Wisconsin's fabled Silver Street.

Little did Rosandich, now President of the U.S. Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama, know that 25 years later the marathon he began would grow to become Wisconsin's longest running marathon, and, in the process, precede and outlive a running mania that spawned a host of marathons in a host of communities throughout the nation.

The marathon's namesake, Paavo Nurmi, was the winner of nine Olympic Gold Medals, the greatest Finnish runner in that nation's history. The name reflects the predominantly Finnish heritage of the region.

The cream of the midwest distance runners traditionally join forces with hundreds of novice and veteran marathoners for the running of "The Paavo". The USATF-sanctioned Marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. on that Saturday in August, on the main street in the small community of Upson and concludes several hours later on Silver Street in Hurley, having run its course through forests and fields, along rivers and lakes.

The marathon enjoyed its zenith in the mid-1970's, when over 1,100 runners would take to the course. As the national craze in distance running faded by the 1980's, so did the interest in the Paavo as marathon entrants dwindled and settled at around the 350 mark, but the machine that drives the Paavo kept going, and while marathons around the nation ceased to run, the Paavo kept churning away, mile after mile, year after year.

The sponsors of the race, the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce and the Hurley Area Lioness, provide the organizational skills to keep the race running, but it's the runners and the area resident volunteers who make the race "go". Area residents and volunteers embrace the runners with their applause and encouragement, and many continue to open their homes to runners from throughout the region, in turn creating long-lasting friendships that endure long after the final runner comes across the finish line.

The record for the event stands at 2:19:10, set by Richard Wilde of England in 1978. The women's record is held by Mary Bange of La Crosse, Wisconsin, in a time of 2:47:49, set in 1979.

The race weekend begins with a carbo-loaded Spaghetti Feed in the community of Hurley on the Friday afternoon and continues that night with a gala torch lighting ceremony on Hurley's Silver Street. After the marathon, a festive "Post Paavo Party" and awards ceremony is held in Hurley, with music, food and refreshments available for everyone. For more information on the Paavo Nurmi Marathon, contact the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce at (715)-561-4334.

Paavo Nurmi Marathon

Frequently Asked Questions

 Is the Paavo a Boston Marathon qualifier?  Not for 2019.

What time does the Marathon start?  Full Marathon and Relays start in Hurley at 7:30 am

What time does the Half Marathon start?  Half Marathon starts at Whitecap at 7:30 am

Is transportation provided to the start line for the half marathon?  Transportation is provided to the start line at Whitecap.

Pick up times and locations are as follows:

Iron Horse Trailhead:                           6:15 am


The Iron Horse Trailhead is located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Silver Street, Downtown Hurley

 Is transportation provided back to the start line(s) after the race to get my car?  NO.  We recommend that you find someone to drive you to the start line or use one of our courtesy buses provided.

If I choose to park my vehicle at the Iron Horse Trailhead, is there plenty of parking available?  Yes.

What time limit is placed on the course?  The Paavo Nurmi Marathon course closes at 2:00 pm.  At that time any remaining participants are given the option of a ride back to the finish or can continue on, under their own decision.  There is no official timing or aid station support provided after 2:00 pm.

Can I switch from the Full to Half Marathon category?  Yes.  However no refunds are given and no shirt will be received on registration day.

I cannot make this year’s event, can I receive a refund?  No.   We do defer registrations to the following year, but no refunds are given.

Are showers available?  Yes.  The Hurley K-12 School will be open from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm.

How does transportation work for the 5 person relay teams?   There will be NO transportation provided for relay runners.  However, those runners who will be starting at Mile 10 and Mile 15 will need to park on the south side of Hwy 77 prior to the County E intersection.  A shuttle bus will be provided for those runners.  There is ABSOLUTELY NO VEHICLE traffic allowed on County E.   The designated parking area will be marked.

Each relay team will be given 2 signs for their vehicles.  Designated parking areas are mandatory.

Can I pick up my packet on Race Day?  Race Day packet pickup is available from 5:30 am – 6:45 am at the corner of 4th Avenue and Silver Street, under the event tent.   No packets are available at the start line.

Can I register on Race Day?  No.  Registration ends at 7:00pm on Friday, August 9, 2019.

Do I get a finisher medal?  The first 200 Full and 200 Half Marathon participants to complete the course will receive a finisher medal.  ( 2015 registration totals:  Full 149; Half 153)

Where do I get my finisher medal?  Finisher medals are available at the event tent, right by the Finish Line.  Please have your race bib with you.

Where do I get my Marathon Finisher t-shirt?  Full marathon finisher t-shirts are available at the event tent, right by the Finish Line.  Please have your race bib with you.

I have items that I want to leave at finish line, how does that work?  Volunteers are available at the event tent in Hurley to provide runners with a clear item bag to place belongings in.  Bags are labeled and you will need to provide your information on the label.  Bags will be at the Finish Line area and can be retrieved after the race.  Please have your race bib with you.

Are early starts allowed?  No.

Where are Aid Stations located?   Aid stations are available at:  Mile 3.1, 5, 9, 10, 13.1, 16, 19.5, 21, 22.8, 24.4, 25.5

What is available at aid stations?  All aid stations are stocked with ice, water, Gatorade and first aid supplies.

Bathrooms/ Porta Potties at the following:  3.1, 5, 9, 13.1, 19.5, 22.8 and 24.4

I missed the shirt cut off date, can I order one and have it sent to me?   T-shirts are available for participants who registered by July 28 2019.  You can order a shirt at packet pickup and have mailed to you (cost is $5 to cover shipping) or to pick up at the Hurley Chamber.  Shirts are ordered the week after the race and usually ready within 2 weeks.