Special to the Journal
Area residents will notice several temporary road closings in the area on Saturday as Albany welcomes more than 1,600 participants in the fifth annual Snickers Marathon Energy Bar marathon and half-marathon, which also is known as the Albany Marathon.
Weekends in February and March are typically slow for the local hospitality industry. Combining the Albany Marathon, SB&T Bike Race Weekend, the Flint RiverQuarium Turtle Race, and Sunday’s Sounds of Praise at Veteran’s Park with the Downtown Merchants’ Mardi Gras celebration make for a perfect partnership, says an Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau director, Lisa Riddle.
The entire city is being encouraged once again to develop cheering teams all along the route to show community pride and spirit which will also be a great help to the runners. It’s a great time to bring out radios, noise makers and cow bells to encourage the runners.
A contest is being held once again to determine the best decorated water station and best cheering neighborhood. The awards will be presented at the wrap-up party on March 22 at Chehaw.
ALBANY MARATHON Q&A
Is the course a certified Boston qualifier?
Would you describe the course as hilly or flat, rural or urban, road or trail?
It’s going to be flat and fast … that is the nature of southwest Georgia! The course is mostly urban and mostly road.
What time and where does the race start?
The race begins at Veterans Park, next to the Albany Civic Center on Front Street.
How many people will run?
Last year, a record 1,500 runners participated; this year, as many as 2,000 total participants are expected to participate in the marathon and half marathon.
Is there a time limit for the marathon or half marathon?
Yes, there is a 7-hour limit for the course.
Are there Pace Groups to help runners achieve their goals?
Yes, as a benefit to the marathon and half marathon runners, pace teams will be led by experienced pacers for a wide variety of times including many of the Boston qualifying standards. This support is useful as runners strive to achieve their marathon goals.
What will the post-race festivities and refreshments include?
Finish line refreshments will include water, Miller beer, fruit, bagels, etc. with vendors in the downtown district offering other food choices. Post race festivities include a music festival kicking off in the downtown district, just two blocks from the start/finish. Music begins at noon and bands finish at midnight. Each participant gets a free entrance ticket. The SB&T Bike Race will be taking place in downtown Albany, as well. Also check out the Flint River Turtle Race and the Mardi Gras concert at the State Theatre. Details are on Pages A4-5 of this newspaper.
What historic sites and scenic areas are part of the race route?
- Start is on Front Street next to Veteran’s Park, near the Riverfront.
- Pass Albany’s historic Sand Dunes, thought to be the northern reaches of the Gulf of Mexico thousands of years ago
- Two college campuses, Albany State University and Darton College
- Lake Loretta (particularly scenic and tranquil neighborhood and lake)
- Circles through Rawson Circle, a designated garden neighborhood
- Pass Hilsman Park – a natural limesink.
- Run last stretch along side participants in the Georgia Cup Cycling Series speed race then…
- Through Thronateeska Heritage Museum: kind of unique to run through a building which happens to be an old railroad depot!
- Finish is along a scenic river trail at Riverfront Park.
What will the crowd support be like?
Our community is so excited to cheer on the runners and walkers for this event each year. We plan to have cheer groups, neighborhood groups and bands along the route.
What do the race winners receive?
$3,000 to first place male and female; $2,000 to second and third place male and female and $1,000 to third place male and female and $250 to first place wheel/crank chair athlete. No additional cash awards, but age categories will go three deep and “unique awards” are planned.
Who coordinates the 1,000-plus volunteers? While the race committee is in charge of the race, Central Monitoring provides the volunteer coordination.
What’s the weather forecast? Pretty doggone perfect. A perfect spring day. The forecasters say that any foreseeable rain likely will not come until Saturday night.