Country Music Marathon Organizers Unveil New Race Route
By Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The St. Jude Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon has grown considerably from just 7,500 runners in 1999 to more than 30,000 today.
"To see the transformation over those years is just one of the absolutely thrilling things for somebody that's grown up in the sport," said Tracy Sundlun, Sr. of the Competitor Group which plans the event.
This year the race won't start at Centennial Park, but a mile further into downtown on Lower Broadway. Organizers say it'll be more of a loop layout around the city with various hills.
"Most of that distance you'll see made up within the downtown area to continue to highlight what the city of Nashville has to offer downtown," said Marathon Director Malain McCormick. "So what we're trying to do is manipulate the course so that it allows the runners to make that incline at a broken up period of time to make it a little bit easier on those legs."
They also hope to keep it distinctly Nashville with more bands to encourage runners with music along the way.
Since a majority travel here from somewhere else it means big tourism dollars. Last year, all those people brought $38.2 million to the local economy.
"It sends a great message about Nashville trying to be a healthier, more active city. It's just all positive and you can't beat having all these visitors come into our city. The city looks good and looks good for over 26 miles," said Metro Mayor Karl Dean.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis is the big sponsor. They hope to raise $1.9 million dollars during this year's marathon. That's what it takes to run the hospital every day, and their goal is attribute one entire day solely on donations from the 2014 Country Music Marathon.