Thursday, April 23, 2009

Country Music Marathon to draw thousands

WKRN Channel 2 News April 22, 2009 12:01 PM CDT NASHVILLE, Tenn. - More than 30,000 runners and 100,000 spectators are expected in Nashville this weekend for the 10th Annual Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. Adam Zocks, general manager for the Country Music Marathon, predicts a record number of participants in 2009. "The kid's race is bigger than ever, the half is bigger than ever, the marathon is about the same," he told News 2. "We're going to be pushing about 35,000 this weekend." Zocks said the marathon will be bigger than in 2008 but by how much is not yet known since participants can register at the marathon's Health an Fitness Thursday and Friday. The expo, held at the Nashville Convention Center in downtown, will feature more than 100 exhibitors with the latest in sports apparel, health and nutritional information and more. It is free and open to the public. Zocks said the marathon growth is "great to see", especially in the tough economy. "We had some concerns this year with the economy and everything going on in the country. We were slow for a while. I guess people just waited longer than usual and really made that decision on how they're going to spend their money," he said. Centennial Park will once again be the start of the race. Runners will cross the finish line at LP Field. Several changes to the course were made this year. "We'll run past the Symphony Center and the [Country Music] Hall of Fame and the Frist Center and all the great landmarks of Nashville," said Zocks. "It's nice to do that again." Marathon officials say they're prepared for any weather forecast. For Saturday, it looks warm. Sunny skies are in the forcast, with highs in the low 80s. "We're prepared for any weather conditions [and] always have everything we need, plenty of water, sports drink, got the spray stations ready to go when it starts to warm up. We'll be prepared to take care of our runners," said Zocks. To accommodate the marathon, roads will be closed throughout Music City on Saturday. West End Avenue, from 31st Avenue to 21st Avenue, will close at 3 a.m. Saturday and reopen at 9 a.m. West End, from 21st Avenue to 16th Avenue will close at 6 a.m. and reopen at 8:30 a.m. Broadway, from 16th Avenue to 4th Avenue will be closed from 6 a.m. to 9 am. The marathon will also impact interstate traffic. The following off-ramps will be closed in both directions beginning at 6:15 a.m. I-40 to Broadway, will reopen at 9 a.m. I-40 to Demonbruen Street, will reopen at 9:30 a.m. I-65 to Rosa Parks Boulevard, will reopen at 1:30 p.m. In 2008, organizers said the marathon added $20.2 million to Nashville's economy and generated some $3.4 million in tax revenues. 60% of last year's runners came from outside the Nashville area. Visit for complete details.

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