Lumina News file photo
Runners participating in the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon cross the Heide Trask Drawbridge on March 17, 2013.
The Fifth Annual Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon will be held Sunday, March 16, and is part of weekend-long event called Marathon Madness.
Marathon Madness comprises several races: a 1-mile fun run and a 5k race on Saturday, March 15, with a half-marathon, full-marathon and a marathon relay on Sunday.
The event, which benefits the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Landfall Foundation as well as numerous other local charities and organizations, has raised $108,864 since beginning in 2010.
The marathon, which is basically two loops of the half-marathon course, begins on Municipal Lane beside Wrightsville Beach Town Hall and ends on Conservation Way in Mayfaire Town Center.
Wrightsville Beach resident Charlotte Corriher has run the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon every year since it began.
Corriher, who started running in 2004, has run 54 marathons and said she returns to the Wrightsville Beach marathon every year because it is in her hometown and offers home-field advantage.
“I’m not competitive, really just having fun. Wrightsville Beach does happen to be my PR,” Corriher said, about her personal record.
For runners like Bobby Swisher of Wrightsville Beach, who will be running the marathon relay with two other team members, running long distances did not start with the idea of running a marathon.
“I started running in 2011, around my sophomore year of college to try to get in better shape and slim down to surf,” Swisher said.
Swisher will be running the first 11 miles of his team’s relay and hopes to keep a pace of 7:45 per mile.
This year, the half-marathon will also be the USA Track and Field North Carolina State Championship.
“That increases prize money and the level of competition. The best of the best in the state will be here,” Race director Tom Clifford said.
Also in attendance for the weekend will be guest speaker Frank Shorter, an Olympic runner who won the gold medal in the marathon during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. Shorter will speak during the pasta dinner Saturday, the night before the full-marathon.
The course is spectator friendly. Those who wish to watch the race are suggested to either park at Mayfaire and walk toward Military Cutoff Road, where they can see runners at miles 4 and 11, as well as those running the full marathon at mile 22. Spectators can also park at Harris Teeter on Eastwood Road and watch the runners coming up Eastwood Road.
Spectators are asked not to attempt to head to the starting line as traffic will be heavy around the Heide Trask Drawbridge and may cause them to miss runners coming across the finish line.
The official gun starting time of the half and full marathons will be 6:45 a.m. on Sunday, March 16.
Visit www.wrightsvillebeachmarathon.com for more information on Marathon Madness weekend and the charities it supports.