October 7, 2007

Folks Gearing Up for the City of Oaks Marathon

Raleigh - The inaugural City of Oaks Marathon and Half Marathon are set to take place on Nov. 4. Marathon sponsor, Raleigh Running Outfitters, established the marathon with hopes of bringing a prestigious running event to the city of Raleigh.

"It was just time for it to be done," Jim Micheels, City of Oaks Race Director, said.

Over then past few months, Micheels has watched hundreds lace up and prepare for the new marathon.

Raleigh has not seen a marathon in five years. Another group tried to get a marathon going several years ago, but it ran out of steam.

"Most major cities in the United States have a marathon," Micheels said. "It's unfortunate that the Triangle and Raleigh, specifically, hasn't had that history in the past, but starting this year, we're going to start to develop that."

City leaders hope the new marathon will become a tradition, much like the Richmond Marathon. It has been around for 30 years and brings in an estimated $8.5 million for the city.

The inaugural City of Oaks Marathon and Half Marathon are estimated to bring about 1,000 people to Raleigh.The two events will take place in downtown Raleigh, with the start and finish near the State Fairgrounds.

"A lot of folks will probably go out to restaurants the night before, of course getting into bed early at hotels and motels," Charles Meeker, Raleigh Mayor, said.

The mayor is not only a big supporter of the marathon, he is also a runner.

"I'm going to do the half marathon. The marathon is too much for me. Now, I'm trying to get in shape doing a few eight to 10 mile runs, so I can attempt to finish the 13 [miles]," Meeker said.

Organizers said 2,700 people have already signed up to run from 35 different states. The 26.2-mile marathon and 13.1-mile half-marathon will benefit the American Cancer Society and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Registration is $80 for the marathon and $60 for the half marathon.

A combined cash prize of $13,400 will be awarded to the marathon and half marathon winner.