It's finally (almost) here: The gun goes off for Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon on Saturday at 7:50 a.m. Here are a few bits of news that might interest you:
- Concerned about the weather? Latest forecast from the National Weather Service indicates rain or freezing rain is likely (60 percent chance). High temp will be about 40. But don't get too worried about a cancellation. In an e-mail to me this morning, race director Tim Rhodes wrote: "The only way we would cancel is if the police call it because of weather/traffic concerns. I spoke with the event officer and he did not sound concerned yesterday. My thought is that most of the undesirable weather is going to happen later in the day." My fingers are definitely crossed...
- Runners, volunteers and spectators should remember: There's NO free parking uptown. So be prepared to walk a few blocks to the start ... or ... drive south of uptown, park near a Lynx station, and take the light rail to the Convention Center.
- Thunder Road's free Health & Wellness Expo opens at 11 a.m. 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 55 to 60 volunteers. If I could afford to pay you out of my own pocket to help out, I would. If I wasn't running myself, I'd be volunteering. I know the weather won't be the greatest, but a race this big can't go on without course monitors and people to hand out cups of water, among other things. Maybe you can convince a friend to join you -- it'll make the people-watching doubly awesome. Plus, you're guaranteed a cool long-sleeve volunteer T-shirt (along with a personal "thanks" from me if I see you, for whatever that's worth). Care to help? E-mail Jessica Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org.