Conditions are shaping up to be near perfect Sunday morning for the 14th annual Two Cities Marathon & Half.
With the weather forecast on their side, a steady rise in participation and an extra hour of sleep for everybody with Daylight Savings Time ending the night before, race organizers believe they have left little room for error to sneak in.
“Everything is looking good,” race director Aaron Samansky said. “It’s grown to be one of the premier community running events and we couldn’t be happier.”
Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-to-high 40s, with a light breeze, for the 6:30 a.m. start. Sunday’s high is forecast at 68 degrees.
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About 4,000 runners take to the streets annually to run the 26.2-mile full marathon or dual 13.1-mile half-marathon courses, but this year organizers are hoping to attract even more participants with the addition of the 5K Fun Run. That translates to 3.1 miles.
“We’re hoping to draw people we haven’t drawn in the past,” Samansky said. “We want to encompass all runners.”
The new, shorter race will use the same starting line as the full and half marathons. The course takes runners north on Friant Road to Shepherd Avenue, out-and-back on Perrin Avenue, then north up Friant before turning around at Fort Washington and back south onto Audubon Drive and into Woodward Park to the finish line.
It isn’t just the runners who make this event, Samansky said, it’s the outpouring of community support that has fueled the 14-year tradition.
“The volunteers and spectators make this event really pop,” he said. “Every year we need about 1,500 volunteers and Fresno has been a real great place for that.”
As early as 6 a.m., spectators begin lining prime viewing spots along Friant and Shepherd and in Old Town Clovis, ready to cheer on the full field.
This year, the main-event spotlight again will be on Fresno’s Jesus Campos, seeking his fifth straight Two Cities Marathon victory.
“I‘m just happy I’m healthy enough to do it every year,” Campos said. “If I run a good time, I’ll be happy with that. Even if I get second, third, fourth, or wherever, that’s how running is for me.”
Volunteers can still sign up at www.runfresno.com.
Health & Fitness Expo
Because of Halloween falling on Friday this year, the sixth annual Sierra Pacific Orthopedics Health & Fitness Expo will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno.
The expo will feature a running-expert panel that includes Samansky (owner of Sierra Running Co.); California Fitness Academy owner Justin Levine; Sierra Challenge Express coach Ray Knight; and Felicia Gomez, trainer and owner of Pinnacle Training Systems.
• Two youth races also are offered. A quarter-mile race for children ages 6 and younger will start at 11 a.m., with a half-mile race for youths 7-12 at noon. The entry fee is $20 per runner.