40th Anniversary of the Bix 7

July  25, 2014

      A small idea between friends forty years ago is now the largest road race in the Quad Cities. The Bix 7 tomorrow will host 20,000 runners from across the country.

      Just 84 runners participated in the first Bix in 1975, and most of them were local. But spokesman, Glen Kass, says it earned a place among the elite competitions thanks to the 1980 appearance by top distance runner Bill Rodgers. He and Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi will run alongside other professionals this year.

      "Bix ends up being a great training run for them, and as far as the local runner goes, Bix has always been people's goal. That's why we always try to have people come back, especially on these anniversary years, and ask them to challenge themselves again and be part of the excitement."

      For the first time, veterans can participate in the Bix for free. Kass says it's a way to show appreciation for local heroes. This will also be the fourth year the Bix is part of the USA 7-Mile Championships. 

      "Because of the nature of the race course, which is an out-and-back course--which is also unusual--you have the ability to go out and back the same way you came. And as you're going out, you're seeing the elite runners coming back the other way, so you're in the same race they are, and you can feel that."

      Over the years, the Bix 7 has grown from 1,000 volunteers to over 5,000. Plus, organizers have added drug tests and computerized chips to record finish times. The Jr. Bix will be held this evening, with the 2-mile Quick Bix and Bix 7 both starting tomorrow at 8 am.