It's finally (almost) here: The gun goes off for Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon a week from Saturday at 7:50 a.m. Organizers this morning sent me several bits of info that'll be of interest to anyone running it:
- Latest projections for the number of participants are 1,885 for the marathon, 4,346 for the Amica Insurance half, and 4,353 for the Presbyterian Hospital 5K -- that's 10,584 total runners, which is a 50 percent increase over 2008 (when just over 7,000 took part). Haven't signed up yet but still hope to run? Do it soon. Says race spokesman DC Luchessi: "There's a little wiggle room left in the full and half marathon, but we're awfully close to hitting the cap in the 5K." Click here for the race Web site, or here to register.
- Thunder Road's free Health & Wellness Expo opens at 11 a.m. next Friday, Dec. 11 -- and it's open to everyone, not just for registered runners. It'll be held at the Charlotte Convention Center (501 S. College St.) and will feature nearly 50 vendors, including representatives from major retailers and shoe companies, along with opportunities to buy all manner of running accessories and to learn about how to be a healthier runner. Expo hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, then from 6:30 a.m.-noon on race day.
- Organizers are still seeking about 60 volunteers. In addition to being involved with Charlotte's only marathon, you'll be supporting thousands of fellow runners and an event that benefits local non-profits; oh, and you'll get a cool long-sleeve volunteer T-shirt. Register as an individual, or grab some friends and make it a group effort. Currently, course monitors are especially in demand. Interested? E-mail Jessica Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This year's race has gone "green," with a virtual goody bag that is saving a ton of paper and plastic bags; it can be found here.
- Finisher medals, participant shirts and awards are now on display at Run For Your Life in Dilworth (2422 Park Road).