On your mark ...

Last minute details worked out on Albany marathon

Marathon runner Sonny Truesdale grabs his number during the runner expo Friday at Hilton Garden Inn.

Marathon runner Sonny Truesdale grabs his number during the runner expo Friday at Hilton Garden Inn.

ALBANY, Ga. — Rashelle Beasley could not be tamed Friday.

Just trying to get her to sit still long enough to do an interview was nearly impossible. Such is the life of a marathon director the day before the big race.

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Friday, Beasley and company — aided by an army of volunteers — scurried around downtown finishing up details and wrapping up loose ends before more than 1,400 runners line up Saturday for the Snickers Marathon and Half-Marathon.

"It's been an interesting day," Beasley said at the runners expo at the Hilton Garden Inn. "Things are coming together and we're starting to get runners coming in so things are looking good."

From mic checks at the Civic Center to organizing runner numbers on tables at the expo, organizers had their plates full Friday getting everything ready for Saturday.

Outside, as cool winds whipped through Front Street, Phil Cannon and Tommy Gregors and the other organizers of the Mardi Gras Street Festival worked feverishly to place food and entertainment vendors in their respective locations. By 10 a.m., the first of a day-long series of bands will begin playing downtown.

All of the work going on Friday is a prelude to one of the biggest weekends each year; one that will witness thousands flock downtown.

Friday's activities downtown are a stark contrast to last year's event in which runners forced themselves to slosh through 26.2 miles of Albany streets while fighting torrents of rain, puddles and standing water, and even a tornado warning before crossing the finish line.

This year, there likely won't be any rain to speak of, but with temperatures dropping into the 30's Saturday morning, runners are going to face some challenges as they navigate the course.

"It's going to be cold but hopefully it won't be cold and wet," Beasley said Friday. "It definitely won't be like last year."

But because the rains likely won't fall during the race, doesn't mean organizers didn't have to sidestep mother nature.

A rising Flint River, which rose thanks to several inches of rain that fell on the area last weekend, forced race organizers to go to their backup course; a Boston-Marathon-qualified route that moved the finished line from Riverfront Park to Thronateeska Heritage Museum.


RedEric 2 years, 8 months ago

They screwed up the route volunteer program, after operating wonderfully for past events it was changed. I rode around the Rawson Circle neighborhood this morning and found unofficial "volunteers" trying to keep runners on the correct route. We had people at those intersections to maintain order in the past. Another intersection had a near accident because a car was approaching an intersection to fast and nearly ran over a runner also where we had people in past events. Bluntly speaking it was stupid to change past practices. It reduced the quality of the event and was potentially dangerous. I want to know who made the decision.


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