For the first time at the Quad-City Times Bix 7, runners can compete as a team for cash prizes.
The new Caesar’s Sportsbook Team Challenge could fill a summertime dearth of team competitions for “minor league” runners, as Running Wild Elite Team Manager Devin Allbaugh put it.
Teams of five run the 7-mile course, with the top three runners’ times scoring. The top three teams with the lowest cumulative times win cash prizes from a $3,500 purse.
Allbaugh pitched the idea to Bix Race Director Michelle Juehring as a way to attract more “sub-elite” runners — runners on the cusp of being a pro-runner without a sponsorship.
“In running, to get an individual contract is insanely difficult,” Allbaugh said.
It’s easier to be a member of a club team with a sponsor. His team Running Wild Elite, which includes a few members who are just minutes shy of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, is sponsored by the shoe company Brooks.
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And there’s not a lot of Midwest team competitions to race in, said Allbaugh. In March, Chicago hosts the Shamrock Shuffle, and around the April Drake Relays, Des Moines’ Blazing 10k includes a team competition.
“Bix filling the void of no team competitions in the summer is a nice little addition for a team schedule,” Allbaugh said.
Juehring said there are still a few spots open for runners who want to compete as a team. They capped it at 40 teams for the first year.
2. Bill Rodgers holding a shake-out run 8 a.m. Friday
Olympian and former Marathon record holder Bill Rodgers is hosting a shakeout run — free to the public — on Friday morning ahead of race day.
It’ll be at 8 a.m. Friday, July 29, meeting at the Quad-City Times Bix 7 bronze statues at River Drive and 4th Street. Rodgers plans to say a few words before leading an easy-paced 2-mile run on the Mississippi River Trail.
Afterward, Rodgers will sign autographs for his book “Marathon Man.”
3. Heads up: Prairie Farms Quick Bix finish slightly different
Finishers of the 2-mile Prairie Farms Quick Bix race will cross the finish line at the same spot — at LeClaire and 4th Street.
But once finished, race organizers will funnel participants south to 3rd Street to catch up with the 7-mile participants, be closer to hydration stations, and enter the after party in the Quad-City Times parking lot the same way as the full-race finishers.
“We did that because we know that having hydration stations available is crucial, especially if it’s warm,” Juehring said. “And so we want to make one closer to the runners where they finish. So the one that was at the Times building when you first came into the lot now has been moved to 3rd Street.”
4. New construction on the course
New housing for Palmer Chiropractic students: A new student housing project at Palmer College of Chiropractic is going up along the Quick Bix route on Perry Street. The 115-unit building is set to be completed later this year between East 11th Street and East 10th Street and Perry Street and Pershing Avenue. The student housing is expected to accommodate up to 139 students, said Jillian McCleary, senior director of communications. This is part of a $50 million, 10-year plan to make the college more attractive to students.
Housing complex near YMCA A workforce housing apartment complex on LeClaire Street west of the R. Richard Bittner YMCA started construction earlier this year. It’s by TWG, an Indianapolis-based real estate development company that specializes in market rate, affordable, and senior housing developments. The complex, to be called Federal Point, is a four-story, 185-unit development. All units, including studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, will be reserved for people who earn at or below 60% of the area median income, according to a news release. Construction on the development is expected to be completed by December 2023.
Coming soon: Martin Luther King Jr. Park
Soon, the nonprofit Friends of MLK hope to honor Davenport’s history with a park on the corner of 5th and Brady streets dedicated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s honor.
The nonprofit leaders are in the final stages of fundraising to start construction on the park.
The organization’s CEO Ryan Saddler has said inside, the park will have a stage, picnic areas, green space and an area for a market to be set up. Panels will line the inside of the park and feature a series of pictures that tell a historical story. Saddler said they plan to focus the panels on a theme such as Black business, and feature iconic individuals in Davenport. The exhibit will act like a physical storybook and be changed seasonally in order to tell more stories.
5. New national anthem singers
On race day, a new singer will take the mic to sing the National Anthem. London Young, whose resume includes performing at the 2015 Atlanta Black History Month Parade and the WNBA Atlanta Dream Game the same year, competed in an American Idol-style competition to win the spot on the Bix 7 starting line. Young moved to the Quad-Cities from the West Coast.
Two others will sing the Star-Spangled Banner at two other events: Muscatine Community College student Bridgette Bissell at Thursday’s Brady Street Sprints and Kylen Phillips, a 2022 Davenport Central graduate, at the after party.
Jack Carey, who has sung the national anthem on the Bix race starting line for years, retired in February.
6. Two “Break the Tape” runners race to finish ahead of the elite
Two runners will have the chance to break the Quad-City Times Bix 7 tape before elite athletes for the first time at this year’s race.
Russell employee Sam Russell and University of Iowa student Olivia Moore have been chosen to run in the Break the Tape competition, formerly known as Beat the Elite. They will have a head-start on the elites and each will receive $2,500 if they cross the finish line first.
7. New scholarship for student Bix participants
Laurie McGrath, the widow of assistant race director Rick McGrath, created a scholarship in his name. She’ll award four $250 scholarships to Quad-Cities residents — two to runners who “embody Rick’s spirit and passion for running” and two for race volunteers.