Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thunder Road preview draws huge crowd

When I saw Run For Your Life's Dexter Pepperman this weekend at the Thunder Road Marathon Course Preview Run he organized, he was looking overwhelmed -- and happy.

The past couple years, typically about 100 people have showed up to run the first half of the 26.2-mile course. At 7 a.m. Saturday, nearly four times that many runners were queued up in the Dowd YMCA parking lot; seven minutes later, the masses created an awe-inspiring sight when they poured out onto Morehead Street.

"I have never seen so many people out running when it wasn't actually a race," said participant Chris Lamperski afterward.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that in the past, the event was free; this is the first year Run For Your Life has charged for it.

"I think what we will do next year is treat this as an official event, without a closed course and timing and scoring," RFYL owner Tim Rhodes told me today. "But definitely we will have to have more of an official plan going in, given how big it has gotten." (This is good news, since Saturday there were no Porta-Johns in the parking lot and the Y was closed, making for more than a few uncomfortable runners.)

In the meantime, there's still another half of the course to be covered: At 7 a.m. this Saturday, runners will head out to preview the "back" 13.1 -- which reaches down into South End and up into NoDa.

Online registration is closed, but you can e-mail Dexter Pepperman at if you have questions ... or just come out and register for $10 on Saturday morning. (Note: If you were a paying customer this past weekend, you're already good to go for Part 2.) Fee gets you water and/or Powerade at several hydration stations along the route as well as a technical T-shirt, although quantities of the latter are now limited.

Also, don't be scared off by the crowds: "Next week will probably be much smaller," Dexter tells me. "The second run usually is." This Saturday's preview run also will be held at the Dowd YMCA (400 E. Morehead St., on the edge of uptown).

The Thunder Road Marathon is scheduled for Dec. 12. For the race Web site, click here.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that he thinks it will be smaller this week as I know more people running this week than did last week.

This one felt more organized than the past previews. Any chance the Y will open early next time so we can take advantage of the facilities before the run?

Great shirts by the way!!!

Anonymous said...

I just hope there are a lot of folks running and I can follow them. Looks like a lot more turns on this half of the marathon course and the area is not run by as many runners who run the first part of the marathon. I don't want to get lost, but Dexter did hand out turn by turn instructions.

Anonymous said...

Theoden, since you ran the preview run, are you running the full or half ThunderRoad?

Anonymous said...

I really do appreciate that RFYL puts on these preview runs, but did I miss some water stops on Saturday? I only saw two - one at about mile 2 and another at mile 6.