Thousands of visitors will travel to the Wilmington area this weekend for the 13th annual Novant Health Wilmington Marathon.
With three races, the events, directed by Without Limits, are set to take place on Saturday, Feb. 25. The Wilmington Marathon and other similar races – including the Battleship NC Half Marathon in November, also organized by Without Limits – provide a litany of personal and economic benefits, according to Tom Clifford, event organizer and founder of Without Limits.
“We love Wilmington and races like this create a positive environment to set personal goals, be healthy, compete with each other, bring business to Wilmington, put heads in beds, boost the economy, build a sense of community by getting corporations and volunteers involved in the race, and raise money for charity,” Clifford said in a release. “We want to welcome runners from all over to our city!”
More than 4,000 athletes are slated to participate in the event, and those traveling to Wilmington from other locations often bring their family members along with them. Together, these visitors boost the local economy with stays in hotels, meals at restaurants and other purchases. Last fall, Clifford estimated a $2 million economic impact
for the races.
The races could also introduce the Wilmington area to new visitors and spur future trips.
“Hosting races and tournaments in Wilmington and our Island Beaches provides a wonderful opportunity for athletes and their families to explore our destination,” said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority in a release. “We hope that everyone enjoys the race and will return for future athletic events and family vacations.”
The event includes options for a full marathon, half marathon and marathon relay as well as a 5K and 1-mile run. The marathon course
begins at sunrise at Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier in Wrightsville Beach, and from there, the course generally follows U.S. 74 to downtown, where the full marathon will continue along Front Street to loop around Greenfield Lake. All races will conclude at Live Oak Bank Pavilion.
The 5K and 1-mile run both begin and end at Live Oak Bank Pavilion.
To accommodate the events, portions of roads including and surrounding Causeway Drive, Eastwood Drive, and Market Street will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., according to a release from the N.C. Department of Transportation.