After two years of race cancellations, the Valley O.NE Marathon will debut on April 24, 2021 in Valley, Nebraska. The 26.2-mile course, which features asphalt roads weaving around seven lakes near the town of Valley, is believed to be one of, if not the flattest-known marathon course in the world. The inaugural race will take on even more meaning by serving as host to the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team Selection Event for ambulatory marathon classifications.
The Omaha Sports Commission (OSC) is partnering with Valley O.NE Marathon organizers for the April event. The OSC recruited the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team Selection Event to the Valley course. As a result, the OSC will now be the host organization for three U.S. Olympic and Paralympic competition events in 2021 – the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming in June, the U.S. Olympic Curling Trials in November and now April’s 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team Selection Event.
After having to cancel the inaugural marathon in 2019 due to floods and the 2020 race to the COVID-19 situation, Valley O.NE organizers say the 2021 race is a go.
“Having what we believe to be the flattest course in the world is a source of pride for us in Valley,” said Linda Kunasek, race director. “We intend to make our marathon a high stakes Olympic and Boston qualifier, which adds to its legitimacy and will bring in some of the country’s best runners. After having to cancel our first two years of in-person racing, we’re all excited to start racing.”
The Omaha Sports Commission’s partnership with the Valley O.NE Marathon is intended to raise more awareness of the unique marathon course and has already paid dividends with the course chosen to select the American ambulatory marathon team competing in this summer’s Paralympics in Tokyo.
“The OSC is overjoyed at the opportunity to partner with Valley O.NE and bring a third U.S. Olympic and Paralympic qualifying competition to our area” said Lindsay Toussant, OSC director of events. “No other city can boast of holding so many U.S. Olympic and Paralympic competitions in one year and the U.S. 2020 Paralympic Team Selection Event should make the Valley O.NE Marathon first year memorable. We cannot wait to showcase the great course in Valley and have runners competing again.”
“We are very excited for Valley to serve as our U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for ambulatory marathon athletes,” said Sherrice Fox, director of U.S. Paralympics Track & Field. “We hope this will become a new tradition of Paralympic events in town as we showcase the athletic excellence of a Para athletes looking to secure their spots in Tokyo.”
For those looking for a shorter distance, Valley O.NE will offer kid’s races on April 23 and a half marathon on April 24. A virtual option is also available for the half and full marathon.
Runners can register for the races here. For early bird pricing register by Jan. 3, the last day to sign up is April 3.
About the Omaha Sports Commission: Formed in 2003, the Omaha Sports Commission is a non-profit group dedicated to making Omaha the leading amateur sports community in America. OSC aims to foster a positive socio-economic impact on, and a heightened awareness of, Omaha by attracting, hosting and supporting sporting events. For more information, visit omahasports.org.
About Valley O.NE: The 26.2-mile tour of western Douglas County is comprised of two 13.1-mile loops on pancake flat, lightning fast, asphalt roads. "World Class Race, Small Town Charm!”