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Albany Marathon draws crowd

Runners participate in a past Albany Marathon.

Runners participate in a past Albany Marathon.

ALBANY — Rain or shine, the Albany Marathon and Half Marathon Powered by Snickers was to begin at 7 a.m. today with runners from around the country.

Thunderstorms or tornadoes, if they develop, would be different story.

“If the runners aren’t there, that means the race has been postponed because of something stronger,” Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Rachelle Beasley said. “Runners are used to rain, but we’re looking at the possibly of lightning and even tornadoes.”

The event, a major part of the annual Mardi Gras weekend, is typically a big money maker for the area. This year, it’s hard to figure the impact, since the street festival has been postponed until Saturday.

“It’s difficult to peg the benefit of the race itself,” Beasley said. “It could take a little time to break it down.”

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Dr. Kiyoshi Yamazaki

Regardless of when the race is run, Dr. Kiyoshi Yamazaki, medical director for the event, said he and his team were prepared to deal with anything “injury or health-related” on the 26.2 mile course. Yamazaki said that medical tents staffed by physicians, nurses and non-medical volunteers would be at the halfway point and at the end of the 26.2-mile course.

“I was an Eagle Scout,” Yamazaki said. “So I believe in preparation. We can handle pretty much anything that happens, from cuts, bruises, blisters, heat stroke or even problems from the rain we might have. If there’s something serious between stations, we have vehicles to pick up runners.”

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James and Nozomi Wade

James and Nozomi Wade of Suwanee came to run.

“I race twice a month,” Nozomi Wade said, “and I run about 40 miles a week. I wake up at 4 a.m. and run before I go in to teach first grade.”

Nozomi Wade said she came to the Albany Marathon because it’s flat “and I don’t do hills that well,” and because the Albany race, certified by USA Track & Field, will get her to the Boston Marathon later on.

“She started running because of me,” said James Wade. “I ran into a woman about 65 or so who was training for a triathlon. I figured if she could do it I could, too.”

Nozomi Wade saw her husband was looking and feeling better and decided to give it a try, she said.

“I was working out in a gym at the time,” she said, “but that was boring. Besides, I’m a little competitive by nature. I kept running longer and longer distances until I could run a marathon.”

Nozomi Wade said she “will definitely place” in the full marathon competition. James Wade is competing in the 13.1-mile half-marathon race.

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Stacie Brown

Stacie Brown of Leesburg is fulfilling a dream of sorts.

“Secretly, I always wanted to run a marathon, even though I wasn’t a runner,” she said. “When I turned 30 in January, I figured there was no better way to celebrate the milestone.”

Brown is a member of the Albany Run/Walk group, she said, which helps new runners come up to speed through a personalized method of alternating “runs and walks.”

“There are about 200 people in the big group,” Brown said. “My group has about 10. Depending on abilities, we start out just walking for a minute then running for a minute, then back to walking. Little by little, we come up to running longer times.”

Brown, who’s been training since August, said she runs for the feeling she’s “doing something for herself,” that she’s “stuck with it.” and for the friends she’s made in training.

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Kent Elliot

Kent Elliot, a running newbie, came down from Macon for the 13.1-mile race. Elliot trained by the “Hal Higdon Method,” he said, which stresses short but increasing longer runs. Once he was comfortable going 10 miles, he set himself on a marathon. Elliot, 47, said he got started as part of a “biggest loser” event at his church.

“I’m probably the fattest guy in the race,” Elliot said, “but I’ve lost 47 pounds. My friend Sam nagged me about doing a marathon and finally I signed up.”

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Tom Coleman

Tom Coleman, 69, is a marathon veteran with 117 races under his belt. He and his wife, Jayne, flew down from New Jersey so he could run in this race the first time. Jayne, also a runner, is nursing an injured knee.

“I’ve run marathons in 20 states,” he said, “but this is this will be the first in Georgia. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Comments

coachjohnson42 2 years, 6 months ago

The police are everywhere for this parade of runners....If somebody wanted to rob a store today, they can really get away with it unless its on the street where all the runners are. This is ridiculous. The police blocked off the roads and would not let taxpayers by.....Why cant they just run around a track or something? Some people have jobs to go to......

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DebBruner 2 years, 6 months ago

Well since you were given an advance notice of where the race would be run, you should have taken an alternate route to your job or just left home a little bit earlier as I'm sure you didn't have to wait longer than 5 minutes for the runners to pass. A lot of the local runners in the races are also Albany and Doughtery County Taxpayers.. With the amount of money that benefits Albany from the out-of-towners coming to run and with the money that is donated to a wonderful facility like Willson House, you should be proud of Albany.. This is something that do that is good.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 6 months ago

The route was in the paper and even on this site. You should have looked at it and made plans to go a different way. This is not the first year for this event either. It's your own fault you were held up.

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TheBoss 2 years, 6 months ago

Most of the thugs you are talking about robbing a store are already passed out on drugs at this time. Oh you posted at little after 1 PM today on your way to work, by that time the marthon was over. What is wrong with so many people today is thay don't have respect for people that work hard for the personal goals. If everybody had these goals the world would be better. Maybe you wanted one of thoes medals without having to earn it

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh, and just to prepare you for next weekend, coach, mardi gras will be downtown. U may have to adjust your route...

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bubbavet 2 years, 6 months ago

You are so pathetic. I bet you come from a long line of ASU graduates and teachers.

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Citizen1 2 years, 6 months ago

bubbavet, this was not necessary

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 6 months ago

Pathetic because I wanted to drive down the street without delay??? You sir... are an idiot....

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

Well if anyone is an expert on Pathetic it is Coach! He is just upset the Police were helping TAXpayers other than just him. He should have been there running with us, the fresh air would have done him good. Coach "Here's your sign"

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DebBruner 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers, race staff, Albany police, Turner Job Corps, and private citizens who came out in the nasty weather and supported the Albany Marathon.. You helped the runners to keep going in situations that were just not the best for running, but we made it through the rain and I'm looking forward to next year.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 6 months ago

Leave it to Coach to be negative during a positive event. I drove up on the runners as I was making my way to the gym and I was jealous that I wasn't a good enough runner to be out there. Coach, stay home if you cannot support a healthy endeavor that helps our economic health. You're a killjoy.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

@ Trix..... Don't be silly, it is the desire and not if you are "Good enough" we welcome all to enter. Heck we would even sign up Coach if he could get off the sofa long enough.

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namzaps 2 years, 6 months ago

I had a great time today and I really appreciate all the volunteers and residents who formed cheering squads along the way. This is a great event and something the City of Albany should be proud of. As a guest from Florida who brought my family to your fair town for the weekend - I thank and salute you. PS - Jimmie's hot dogs - wow - what a way to end a race! :-) Awesome.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 6 months ago

This event in a NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED event in the running world with thousands of participants. It actually BRINGS IN money to the community from people who PAY THEIR OWN WAY (a novel idea to some.....) and I am proud to have been a part of helping make it happen.

coachjohnson, you might like to know that there were a lot of redneck white folks driving on the roads today that felt like you do (that is, selfish, oblivious to the need to plan around this well-publicized event, and who feel like the world exists to immediately cater to their every whim). It's sad.

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pberthoty 2 years, 6 months ago

I helped in the 1st two Downtown Mardi Gras events. Years later, the bike race and Marathon has been added. I am not a runner, but a race in Albany that is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon...that's something. I have been a volunteer for the past few years. One year I worked the 13 mile with a police officer and I am glad she was there. I had no problems with the runners, just the cars that tried to drive through or around the barricades. All the publicity and the maps that were out there and still it was unbelievable what drivers tried to do. (were you out there coach?) This year I volunteered for both the dinner for the runners and finish line at the Marathon. (Ben Roberts of WALB & I stood in the pouring rain and Tstorms, handing out finish medals) I had a chance to talk to a lot of people and the staff at the Hilton during the dinner. The Hilton was filled and other runners from Niarobi and Germany were either staying there or at other hotels. It brings over $2 million to Albany. What impressed me the most in living in this so-called "Good Life City" for almost 30 years (I cringe when I hear it called that) was that it lived up to that name. Staff members went to bed at 2 AM and got up at 5 AM or earlier. There were over 700 volunteers that helped out and each was an ambassador to the Albany area...and that's what we need here to live up to that name. I hope that Albany will come out to support the downtown Mardi Gras and continue to make it a success.

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