Winter storms in the Myrtle Beach area and other areas on the East Coast have led organizers of Saturday’s 17th MyrtleBeach.com Myrtle Beach Marathon to change a policy to accommodate traveling runners.
In past years, runners have been required to pick up their race bibs by the close of the runner’s expo at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center at 9 p.m. the day before the race.
But participants in Saturday’s marathon, Dasani half marathon and marathon relay will be allowed to pick up their bibs between 5-6 a.m. Saturday morning near the start line prior to the 6:30 a.m. start of the races.
“In light of the circumstances we will have bib pickup Saturday morning before the race,” marathon executive director Mike Shank said. “It will take some stress off [runners] so they don’t have to rush to get here to get their bibs. We wanted to announce it [Wednesday] so people don’t have to panic.”
Race organizers are still encouraging runners to pick up their bibs and goodie bags at the expo, however, as in past years.
“Saturday morning it’s so chaotic we want people to go to the expo and get it out of the way,” Shank said. “We don’t [normally] want people showing up Saturday morning when we don’t have the staffing for it. Plus we have the merchandise bag and people don’t want to carry it. It’s a lot more simple to have people pick them up at the expo.”
Participants who were worried they were going to have difficulty arriving in Myrtle Beach by 9 p.m. Friday contacted race organizers and prompted the policy change.
“We don’t know how big a problem it’s going to be yet,” Shank said. “We started getting emails from people in Charlotte, Virginia and West Virginia expressing concern that they would not be able to get here by Friday night.”
Bib pickup Saturday will take place behind the entertainment stage near the start line, and runners will be able to pick up their logo shirts and other goodie bag items at the baggage claim near the finish line after they complete their race.
“That way they don’t have to worry about what they have to do with it Saturday morning,” Shank said.
The storms have created travel concerns but shouldn’t be a factor on race day. Clear skies and temperatures approaching or reaching 50 degrees are forecast Saturday for Myrtle Beach. Clear skies and temperatures in the 50s are forecast for Friday evening’s Ripley’s Family Fun Run and PNC 5-kilometer races.
With registration closed until the opening of the runner’s expo from 5-9 Thursday at the convention center, Shank said total entries in races this weekend are up about 10 percent over 2013 with approximately 4,500 entrants in the half marathon, 2,475 in the marathon, 575 in the returning relay, 1,373 in the 5k and 1,600 in the fun run.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.