A new era in road running begins this weekend in Midland as the starting gun for the inaugural "Qualifier" marathon and Half Marathon will go off Sunday morning. The Qualifier marathon is backed by the Crim Fitness Foundation, and should provide runners a great opportunity to set personal bests or qualifying times for the Boston Marathon or other prestigious races which require fast times to get in them.

The Qualifier marathon is different from most marathons in Michigan, as it is a "point-to-point" course. The race will start at Midland's Dow Diamond, home of the Great Lakes Loons and finish in Bay City's Veteran's Park.

The course is flat and fast, and since it runs from west to east, runners should enjoy a bit of a tailwind to assist them in registering a personal best or BQ (Boston Qualifier).

Online registration ends tomorrow night (May 16th) at midnight at www.thequalifier.org

More than a thousand runners are expected at the first Qualifier Marathon, and if the athletes enjoy the race and register fast times, it will surely grow in the future.

Best of luck to everyone that is running!