The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Hurley marathon awarded JEM grant


March 31, 2018

Submitted photo

HURLEY AREA Chamber of Commerce members gather to celebrate a state marketing grant. From left are Jeff Anderson, Wisconsin Department of Tourism Regional Tourism Specialist; Jaci Matusewic, Hurley Chamber of Commerce Vice President; Julie Doucette, Paavo Nurmi Marathon race committee member; Gary Pelkola, chamber board member; Beverly Michaels, Paavo committee member; Jay Aijala, chamber member and Hurley City Council member; Rita Franzoi, chamber marketing and events coordinator; Ricky Kelly, Paavo committee member; Bob Zell, chamber board member; Pat Kangas, Paavo committee member and Wendy Young, of Heartland Communications.

HURLEY - The Paavo Nurmi Marathon is sprinting into its 50th year with help from a $2,250 Joint Effort Marketing grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

The marathon has been held on the second Saturday in August since 1969. As the longest running marathon in Wisconsin, participants can choose from full or half marathon categories, as well as two-person and five-person relay teams.

The 50th anniversary of the Paavo Nurmi Marathon is set for Aug. 11.

"We are thrilled to support an event that has welcomed marathon enthusiasts and created a positive economic impact in Hurley for the last 50 years," said Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. "Marathon and racing events continue to grow in popularity all over the country, but the Paavo has been at the forefront of the achievement travel trend for more than four decades." 

The race is named after the nine-time Olympic gold medalist, reflecting the predominately Finnish heritage of the region.

Marathon and relay events start in Upson and finish on Silver Street in Hurley, while the half marathon starts on the scenic Gile Flowage.

The marathon is expected to attract 1,300 attendees, generating an estimated $125,400 in visitor spending in the area, according to the tourism department.

Tourism business sales in Iron County totaled $27.3 million in 2016, supporting 254 jobs and $2.4 million in state and local taxes.

In fiscal 2017, the Tourism Department funded 61 JEM projects, awarding more than $1.1 million.

JEM grant funds are available to nonprofit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. In the past, Hurley published a successful waterfalls guide program through JEM funding.

The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining.

For information on the JEM program and application materials, visit


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