The Tobacco Road Marathon continues to grow each year in runners and charitable dollars raised, and this year will be no different.
The Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon and the GNC Half-Marathon will attract more than 12,000 people from about 46 states to Cary on Sunday, March 13.
Organizers expect about 4,000 runners, 500 volunteers and 8,000 spectators to attend the seventh annual event.
“We are building the event,” said Marketing Director Mark Dill. “Last year, we topped a half million (dollars), and this year we will be over $600,000 in charitable giving.”
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The Tobacco Road Marathon was named one of the top 10 best new marathons by Runner’s World Magazine in 2014. Dill said he believes the event is increasing in popularity because of its fast, flat and fun course.
“You can really turn in a great time,” he said. “So for people who really want to qualify for (the) Boston (Marathon) ... this becomes one of those targeted events.”
Last year, the event got a little star power when actor Sean Astin of the “Lord of the Rings” films, entered the half-marathon the day before the race. He had been visiting Raleigh for the Wizard World fan convention. He’s an avid runner and marathoner and tweeted his support of the race. “What a blast!!! Thanks 4 having me.”
Astin won’t be in Cary this weekend, but here’s what you need to know about Sunday’s event.
The basics: The Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon and GNC Half-Marathon start at 8 a.m. at Thomas Brooks Park at 9008 Green Level Church Road, Cary.
Registration: There are no more spots for the half-marathon, which maxed out at 2,700 people, but registration for the full marathon is still open. Go to bit.ly/24zIZxV.
The route: Twenty-one miles of the marathon and 8 miles of the half-marathon are on the American Tobacco Trail between Cary and Durham. Both events are USA Track & Field certified. The first two miles and the last two of both races are on paved roadways, including Green Level Church Road and Morrisville Parkway. The course is known as being flat and fast with a downhill finish. Up to 10 percent of runners qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Parking: Spectators and runners who have not yet secured a parking spot at Thomas Brooks Park should park at the NetApp office building at 7301 Kit Creek Road and plan to take a shuttle bus to the event. Shuttles will leave from the corner of Kit Creek Road and Louis Stephens Drive.
Traffic alert: While most of the event is on the trail, motorists should be cautious when traveling around Thomas Brooks Park, the American Tobacco Trail, Morrisville Parkway and Green Level Church Road. Police will be directing traffic. The course closes at 3 p.m.
Proceeds: All proceeds from the event registration and sponsorships go to charities, including Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project and American Red Cross. Cumulative charitable contributions will exceed $600,000.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608, @KTrogdon