Don’t be surprised if the clang of a cowbell awakens you Sunday morning.
Thousands of runners and spectators will navigate Friant Road, the Sugar Pine Trail and Clovis Old Town Trail in the annual Two Cities Marathon & Half on Nov. 6.
Local residents should plan ahead to avoid road closures and consider finding a spot along the course to cheer on the race participants.
“Embrace these community events, because that’s what makes this place great,” said race director Nate Moore, a 2001 Buchanan High School graduate.
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There are nearly 3,000 people registered for the event, which includes the 13.1-mile Clovis Half marathon, the full 26.2-mile Two Cities Marathon, which runs through Clovis and Fresno, and the Fresno Half, which takes runners along Friant Road in northeast Fresno, Moore said.
The Fresno Half route is also host to a walking-only race and a two-person relay.
Alert-O-Lite signs have been in place along the marathon’s route this week, alerting residents of road closures and detours.
“Old Town Clovis is going to be closed from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and Alluvial will be closed between Peach and Clovis avenues from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.,” Moore said. “North and southbound Willow will be open at all times. East and westbound Nees will be open at all times, as well as Herndon Avenue.”
Friant Road will be closed in both directions from Audubon to Willow avenues from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visit http://www.twocitiesmarathon.com for the race route and road closure map.
Residents are encouraged to make their way to Old Town Clovis to cheer for runners. Clark Intermediate School and the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building are also prime spots to watch the race, he said.
“If you’re not running in the event, bring your kids out,” Moore said. “Maybe you’re not interested in it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be. It’s cool for them to see that, too. And it’s people of all different sizes and shapes and from all over the place; they all come out and do this together.”
Motivational posters, megaphones and noisemakers are welcome. Many participants have their names printed on their event bib numbers so that spectators can cheer for them personally.
Volunteers are also needed to help with traffic control along the course. Visit www.twocitiesmarathon.com and click on “Volunteer” to sign up.
Droves of Clovis students have answered the call for help; hundreds plan to hand out water, electrolytes and energy gels to runners along the course. Registered student volunteer groups include the Key Clubs of Clovis North, Clovis High, Buchanan and Clovis West, the Clovis West Legion of Helpers, Clovis North Robotics Club, Clovis High AVID, Clovis High Latino Club, Clovis High Interact and Clovis North Asian Club.
The Kiwanis Clubs of Clovis, Old Town Clovis and East Fresno are on board to help, along with Clovis Rotary, AGAPE Schools, Dave Shivers State Farm agency, Roosevelt High’s cross country team, Wallflower Club, Caltrans, Edison High’s Hmong Club and the Neil Saigal Memorial Foundation.
Sierra Challenge Express, a nonprofit running group, is the largest benefactor of the race proceeds.
“They use that money to fund student athlete scholarships,” Moore said. “They’ve been able to give away thousands of dollars in scholarships for local kids over all of these years we’ve held this race.”
New this year are the finisher medals, which are handmade in the United States by a fellow runner.
“What I hope people will appreciate is that they’re made by somebody who lived in Visalia, lived in Fresno, ran this race multiple times and now they’re creating the finisher medals for all the people from here. It’s cool; there’s a real connection there,” Moore said.
The race expo — where participants pick up their bib numbers, t-shirts and visit vendor booths for last-minute essentials and apparel — will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at New Covenant Community Church, 1744 E. Nees Ave.
On Sunday, the full marathon begins at 6:30 a.m., the Clovis Half begins at 7:15 a.m. and the Fresno Half events will start at 7:30 a.m.
Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Nov. 6, so participants and spectators should remember to set their clocks back an hour.
▪ Friant Road (Audubon to Willow) will be closed from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
▪ Shepherd Ave (Friant to Willow, eastbound) will be closed from 5 to 8:30 a.m.
▪ Shepherd Ave (Friant to Willow, westbound) will be closed from 5 to 11:30 a.m.
▪ Teague at the intersection of Willow Ave will be closed from 6 to 10:30 a.m.
▪ Alluvial between Peach and Clovis Avenues will be closed from 6 to 10:30 a.m.
▪ Old Town Clovis will be closed from 7 to 10 a.m.
Main alternate routes will be open at all times:
▪ North and Southbound Willow Avenue
▪ East and Westbound Nees Avenue
▪ East and Westbound Herndon Avenue