KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Organizers of the Zeigler Kalamazoo Marathon announced the race’s return for 2023, including the restoration of the full marathon distance the addition of a Kalamazoo landmark to the course.

For one day this spring, Western Michigan University’s football team will share its home turf. Participants for the Kalamazoo Marathon will have Waldo Stadium as the first checkpoint for all races except the 5K.

WMU’s athletic director Dan Bartholomae said the idea of having runners going through Waldo was thrown around during early conversations with marathon organizers. He added that access won’t be limited to those participants and volunteers.

“The seating areas will be open,” Bartholomae said. “If you’ve got somebody (in the race) … and you want to come and bring a sign or be able to get photos of them as they’re running down Waldo Stadium … you’ll be able to do that.”

Waldo joins the expansive list of scenic sites along the different race routes, including downtown Kalamazoo, the Air Zoo, Milham Park and Upjohn Park. Matt Thomas, chief of staff for race sponsor Zeigler Auto Group said including the stadium was an easy choice.

“Think of it: Being able to run through a stadium — an iconic stadium — in Kalamazoo and having people cheer you on,” Thomas said. “It’s just going to set a stage that we didn’t have before.”

The second big change is the return of a classic. After a three-year hiatus, the full 26.2-mile marathon is back and will serve as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

“(The marathon’s return) is huge for our community to just attract runners from all over the nation… Not just the Midwest, but all over the entire nation, which is what we wanted to do,” Thomas said. “Because it’s not just about driving the health and community in Kalamazoo, it’s about beyond that.”

Registration is now open for all races. Walkers and runners will take their mark on April 23, 2023.