HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Runners are preparing to hit the streets of Huntsville for the 37th annual Rocket City Marathon this weekend. More than 2,500 people are expected to either participate or watch the race this weekend.
Organizers told WHNT News 19 that they want the numbers to double next year. They’ve got a few tricks up their sleeves to make it happen.
“We sell out in early November and so we would like to be able to take twice as many runners and bring more visitors to Huntsville which means we’d like to highlight some of the main places in Huntsville,” said Suzanne Taylor, the director of the Rocket City Marathon.
Taylor said she is ready for this year’s marathon, but she’s already planning how next year can be even bigger and better. She is working on a route that includes running past historical Huntsville landmarks like the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Maple Hill Cemetery, and Huntsville Botanical Garden.
“We’ll be taking a different route than we have in the past,” said Taylor. “We’re really excited about that, the runners will come back into Huntsville and finish at Big Spring Park and we’ll go into the Arena for a big concert and party.”
Taylor said they are also planning on having the pre-marathon dinner at the Davidson Center next year. “We’ll hopefully get to run under one of the big rockets out there, so we’re working on some of the very final details.”
The new route is one of the big changes to next year’s event. Taylor said it’ll help put Huntsville on the map for runners around the country.
“When people come to Huntsville and spend the night, we sell out hotel rooms, people go out to eat, they buy gas, they go shopping, and so it’s additional revenue for our city when people come in from out of town,” she said.
“If we can grow the marathon, then hopefully we’re providing the businesses in our city with more economic revenue or economic benefits.”
The Rocket City Marathon, this weekend, will stick to the usual route. Several roads will be closed to keep runners safe. Drivers should try to avoid Airport Road and Governors Drive near Huntsville Hospital as much as possible during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.