It began in 1975 with 84 runners and tomorrow more than 20,000 runners will take to the streets of Davenport for the annual Bix-7. The event has grown to become one of the ten largest road races in the country. Davenport Mayor Charlie Brooke says the race grew “naturally” and has had a good director at the helm. It’s held in conjunction with the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival, making this the biggest weekend in the Quad Cities each year. Brooke says it takes a lot of commitment and volunteers to help manage the hordes of runners taking part. The seven-mile race draws an international field who bid for the first place prize of a new car and second place cash of $4000 but most of those who take part are running enthusiasts looking for a big stage. Matt Goode of Des Moines has run the race before and says for him, jogging became part of a health routine. Goode says he weighed 300 pounds when he decided to start Weight Watchers, and start exercising. At the beginning, he could barely run a couple of blocks. Now, he says he can run as far as he wants to, and weighs 170 pounds. Goode says the distance is not the challenging part of the Bix-7 but rather the course. “It’s the worst course you ever run,” Goode says, laughing. He is using this race as part of a training regime for his first marathon race in Chicago on October 12th. The gun on the Bix-7 race sounds at eight tomorrow morning.
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