CARLSBAD — This weekend thousands of runners from across the country and the world will hit the streets for the 25th anniversary of the Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon presented by Tri-City Medical Center.
The three-day event kicks off today with a “Heroes of the Marathon” ceremony, according to Christine Adams of In Motion, Inc., whose company owns the race and produces the events.
She said five people are chosen and honored for their commitment, service or ability to overcome adversity to compete.
On Saturday, the youngsters get their chance to shine with the Kids Marathon Mile, which begins at 8 a.m. at Legoland. Race-day registration is from 7-7:50 a.m.
On Sunday, the adults take to the streets with the marathon (6:45 a.m. start) and half marathon (7:45 a.m.), which include eight waves in the 13-mile race. Both races start and end at The Shoppes at Carlsbad (the Carlsbad mall).
“We like to say we are a boutique event, in that we are not a mega-marathon,” Adams said. “It’s not really just a business, it’s a passion. Carlsbad is such a fabulous host.”
This year’s event, meanwhile, hits the 25-year mark and is one of the more popular races in the county. And since it’s an Olympic year, Adams said registration of several elite runners is up in preparation to secure a qualifying time for the Olympic trials.
She added the half marathon is expected to be one of the fastest races in years.
“There is going to be a good field competing Sunday,” Adams said.
Logistics of the event are massive, as more than a dozen streets are shut down in parts of the city, 2,000 volunteers, many who come from charities partnered with the marathon, are amassed to assist and coordination with the city of Carlsbad to alleviate as many potential issues as possible.
“It ensures the health and safety of the residents,” said Carlsbad Parks and Recreation Director Chris Hazleton. “Things may change from time to time … but for the most part, the event is well established.”
Although the coordination of the event takes one year, Adams said, the longevity of the event has created subcultures along the routes.
She said in the past fans have showered runners with water from hoses and started other traditions such as pancake breakfasts.
And the stories. So many stories. Adams said it is nearly impossible to unearth and highlight them all. They range from the tragic to the uplifting, creating a sense of pride for Adams and her team.
“There are thousands of stories that we don’t even know about,” she explained. “It’s why we do what we do. There is something about pushing yourself. A half marathon is a huge accomplishment for a lot of people and transformative.”
Although thousands of runners from all walks of life will compete this weekend, Adams said she still looks at the race as a boutique event.
The focus is on the runners with gift bags, recovery food and drink and an overall positive and exciting atmosphere. Plus, running alongside the beach is an added amenity a majority of races cannot compete against.
With a capacity for 10,000 runners — 2,000 in the marathon and 8,000 in the half marathon — Adams said space is still available for last-minute registration.
“We’re not sure if we are going to meet those caps, but we are prepared for that number,” she added.
The following roads will be closed during the race from approximately 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
• Marron Road between Monroe Street and Jefferson Street
• Monroe Street from Carlsbad Village Drive to Marron Road
• Jefferson Street between Marron Road and Laguna Drive
• Laguna Drive between Jefferson Street and State Street
• State Street between Laguna Drive and Carlsbad Boulevard
• Carlsbad Boulevard all lanes between Buena Vista Lagoon and La Costa Avenue
• Avenida Encinas between Cannon Road and Palomar Airport Road
• Poinsettia Lane between Avenida Encinas and Carlsbad Boulevard
• Palomar Airport Road between I-5 and Carlsbad Boulevard
The following roads will be closed during the race from approximately 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.:
• Palomar Airport Road between I-5 and El Camino Real (eastbound lanes only)
• Camino Vida Roble between Palomar Oaks Way and Palomar Airport Road
• Palomar Oaks Way entire street
• I-5 at Palomar Airport Road both northbound and southbound offramps and southbound onramp will be closed