MYRTLE BEACH — More than 4,000 racers are expected to be in town this weekend to participate in the third annual Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon.
The weekend of events begins Friday and includes a health and fitness expo, 5K race, one-mile doggie dash, 80-meter high heel run and culminates with the mini-marathon Sunday morning. The doggie dash and the high heel run benefit the Grand Strand Humane Society.
Race founder and director Robert Pozo, founder of Miami-based Continental Event and Sports Management, said they began hosting the race in Myrtle Beach because of all the city has to offer.
“The weather’s perfect. When you ask people they always say that the weather’s beautiful in October and it’s been fantastic,” he said. “And there’s also the want of people to come and enjoy the beautiful location.”
Pozo said the event is not designed to only draw local runners and their families, but people from across the country.
Last year’s event drew participants from 45 states and more than 10,000 people attended events throughout the weekend, according to the press release.
“We always wanted to have a weekend’s worth of events. We’re not just a community event for the locals. We bring in people from all 50 states,” he said, adding that he wanted to have activities for the runners to participate in with their families all weekend.
Pozo said between the mini marathon and the 5K, 28 percent of the participants are local or live no more than one-and-a-half hours away.
Assistant City Manager John G. Pedersen Jr., who serves on the city’s special events technical committee, said the event is good thing for Myrtle Beach.
“It brings a large number of people at a particularly good time of year. I think there’s a special emphasis because it’s during the shoulder season, Pedersen said. “Plus it’s in line with the activities we liked to have in the city – we like to provide active recreational activities.”
Both Pozo and Pedersen said that even though the event has not yet been approved for next year, it’s an annual thing.
“In reality, it’s recurring. It’s a staple,” Pozo said, adding that he has every intention to bring the mini marathon back to Myrtle Beach next year.
He said he’s hoping for another successful turnout, with about 4,000 runners registered as of Thursday afternoon and expecting a few hundred more by Saturday.
“I’m hoping for another wonderful event [this weekend],” Pozo said.
For more information on the event, visit www.runmyrtlebeach.com.
Contact reporter MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.