The Marshall University Marathon is this weekend. On Sunday, November 6 thousands of runners will venture into Huntington and trek across the city in an effort to complete a journey of 13.1 or 26.2 miles.
The MU Marathon is one of the more popular runs in our area, as it excites local people and draws in visitors from around the country and even a few international imports. It’s a fun time of year for the city and greater tri-state area. If you’ve noticed a higher number of runners out and about recently, then the MU marathon is largely the reason.
Somewhat surprisingly to local people, the MU marathon boasts a fact that no other race can compete with. It is the flattest race that is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. This is a claim to fame for the MU run among the road marathon running community.
The course begins near the Marshall football stadium and treats runners to a tour of the city. After some time on campus and venturing down to the St. Mary’s Hospital area, runners follow Third Avenue to 14th Street West, touring the historic antique district. From there runners will find the Ritter Park Trail, canvass the park, make their way back to First Street and head back to the stadium. Half Marathon runners will finish then. Full marathon runners have the joy of doing it all over again!
The finish line is on the Marshall football field and is an incredible scene. Picture music blasting and volunteers tossing footballs to runners as they catch them and sprint down the field to the finish line.
People who come to watch may also find entertainment from the numerous signs and shirts people sport. Some read things like “Who needs toenails anyway?” or “Worst parade ever” and my personal favorite, mushrooms and stars from Super Mario video games (ask someone who grew up in the 90’s if you don’t understand).
If you have never gone and seen the excitement, colors, smiling faces and pageantry, I highly recommend packing up the kids, granny and anyone else who may need some fresh air and heading down. The early November weather and fall color create an incredible backdrop for all the action.
The run is a joy for our area and serves as a beautiful representation of our city and people. The more people who come down to watch and cheer, the better! As a runner, I personally know how powerful a high five, cheer or smile from a spectator can be.
The more local people who come out and take part in the action, the more we show visitors our pride and support of the community. For runners, the more people who come to watch, the more fun and exciting the marathon.
One nice place to view the race is around Ritter Park. It is fairly easy to get in and out and spectators can watch runners as they pass under the Fifth Street Bridge or sweep the path at Ritter Park.
The MU Stadium also offers easy access and parking to catch the activities at the finish line. Hal Greer Boulevard is the easiest way to drive down to the stadium since it is not a part of the race course.
The marathon and half marathon begin at 7AM. There is also a 5k that starts at 7:15AM.
The number of friends, family and other familiar faces you see running may surprise you. The MU Marathon provides memories and inspiration that last a lifetime!