Quad-City Times Bix 7 assistant race director Michelle Juehring is not originally from the Quad-Cities. The non-native wasn't aware of the social impact the historic seven-mile race has on the community until just recently.
"People plan weddings and vacations around the Bix. I didn't know that," she said Monday afternoon. "It's a community event, and I would hate for people from the community to not get in."
Those plans might need some adjusting this year as the popular race - restricted by an entry cap of 15,000 participants for the July 28 race - is filling up quickly, and race officials are bewildered by the numbers that show that Quad-Citians aren't getting their entry forms in.
As of Monday, more than 10,000 entries have been submitted, and of those registered, only one-third are from the Quad-City area. Race director Ed Froehlich feels a touch bittersweet about the revelation.
"All of this is positive," he said. "The race has never been this successful this early. When I saw the numbers - up about 4,000 from where we were at this time last year - I thought maybe all of the local people were signing up. It would have made sense, but that's not the case.
"If it's at home, you always procrastinate. The local people still have their shot, but there are only so many places left, so they'd better sign up now."
The trend of the Bix 7 growing into more of a race with predominant numbers coming from nonlocal runners and walkers has been steady but never as drastic as the 2007 numbers indicate.
"At the height of our numbers - when we were getting the most registrations - we were getting 50 percent from the Quad-Cities and 50 percent from outside of the Quad-Cities," Froehlich said. "Last year, we had 59 percent from outside the Quad-Cities and 41 percent from the Quad-Cities. Right now, it's only 33 percent from the Quad-Cities.
"People from here need to sign up now to get in. My biggest fear is we're going to have to cut out the Bix At Sixes. I think a lot of people are replacing them for the Bix, and that's not what they're meant for. They're meant to get you in shape to run the big race. I'm gonna have to do something drastic. I've got some really hard decisions to make after this year."
Froehlich noted that two Thursdays ago, at the third Bix At Six training run, he saw what he believed was the biggest crowd he'd ever seen for the practice run, estimating the numbers at more than 3,000.
The entry numbers for the big race shouldn't be surprising as the last time the seven-mile race didn't attract at least 15,000 participants was in 1988, when 12,425 competed.
Sean Moeller can be contacted at (563) 383-2288 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.