GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - In less than three weeks, thousands of runners will be in town for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon. Registration numbers are up, and organizers say they’re expecting a successful year.
So are runners. A group called the Courthouse Road Runners are meeting up three times a week on Courthouse Road to beat the sun for an early morning run in training for the marathon.
“A couple of us decided we wanted to start training and we need to train early in the morning before the kids wake up and life gets busy," said runner Jason McHugh.
Some will be running the full marathon, others the half - all of them pushing themselves to new limits.
“I want to PR [personal record], I want to get a good time. I want to do under four hour," said Krystal Godard.
“This is my first full marathon so I’m looking forward to finishing," said Candice Lee.
It’s a team effort every step of the way as they work toward that finish line.
“They definitely hold me accountable. I hold them accountable. We work really well together to do that. To make sure we get the miles in," said McHugh.
Meanwhile, race organizers are spending hours meticulously preparing the race course. Runners were left heartbroken last year after finding out the full marathon course was 1,555 feet short.
“We’ve made sure that each route is re-measured for one hundred percent accuracy," said communications director Erin Rosetti. “We want to ensure that our runners that are trying to qualify for Boston, are able to walk away with a great race, a great experience, and with one hundred percent accuracy and confidence that their run counted. That it mattered.”
There are some new things in store this year, including the Harrah’s Beer Mile and a visit from Boston Marathon champion Des Linden. Organizers say they want every one to enjoy their time here.
“You have people from all over the states that are coming to participate, and you’re introducing them to a whole new region that they’ve never considered before," said Rosetti.