Hit the Ground Running at Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

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See the city of Myrtle Beach like you've never seen it before, and get a little exercise while you're at it, at the 2015 Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. The sixth annual road race and event are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, for two days of fun, fitness and foot traffic through the sealed-off streets of Myrtle Beach, and staying at the Breakers Resort puts you in the middle of all the action.

Featuring a 13.1-mile course that weaves through some of the Sun Fun Capital's most popular attractions, the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon welcomes thousands of runners and their families and friends to the Grand Strand. Racers compete against others in their age divisions, themselves and the clock while fans cheer them on from the sidewalks. The Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon also provides visitors the opportunity to enjoy all the great things the Grand Strand has to offer during the milder temperatures and smaller crowds of the fall offseason.

In true Myrtle Beach fashion, running is only a part of the fun on tap for the weekend. The event kicks off Friday with the Health & Fitness Expo at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, where participants can pick up their race packets and make sure they are ready to go when the starting gun fires. The Health & Fitness Expo also features dozens of vendors, including running coaches, footwear and apparel displays, and other fitness related exhibitions. The Health & Fitness Expo is held from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday and from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon is actually three racing events in one. Sunday's 13.1-mile half-marathon is the main event, but Saturday's races give runners a chance to compete in two shorter events for both two- and four-legged runners. The Coastal 5K gets things started at 7:30 a.m. with a scenic 3.1-mile road race that starts and finishes at the Marina Inn. Jog along the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway and through the exclusive Dunes section of Myrtle Beach in an event that caters to runners still working their way up to a half-marathon, and for half-marathoners looking for an enjoyable way to warm up for the next day's more grueling 13.1-mile road race.

Perhaps the most fun event gets under way shortly after the Coastal 5K, the Doggie Dash, which allows runners to compete alongside their fury, four-legged friends. Featuring dogs of all shapes and sizes, the Doggie Dash sends runners and their pets through a 1.5-mile course designed with leashed dogs in mind. Runners and their dogs wear matching number bibs and compete as a team for prizes and treats, and you can enjoy the post-race party while your pet laps up lots of water back at race headquarters. Proceeds from the Doggie Dash go to the Grand Strand Humane Society.

After an evening of fun festivities and a pasta party, so runners can carbo-load before the race, the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon hits the streets at 7 a.m. Sunday. The new and improved course layout's starting line is located at Coastal Grande Mall, and runners  follow a route to the north that takes them down Robert Grissom Parkway past Broadway at the Beach and other local hot spots. The course weaves through the Pine Lakes and Ocean Forest neighborhoods before reaching Myrtle Beach's best landmark – the Atlantic Ocean. The five-mile oceanfront home stretch takes runners south down Ocean Boulevard, past Breakers Resort and on to the finish line at the popular Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, where racers break the tape at Plyler Park and begin the post-race festivities. Cold beer, hot food, live music and an awards presentation turn the downtown district into one big post-race party for those with the energy left to celebrate.

For more information or to register for the event, visit www.runmyrtlebeach.com. The deadline is midnight, Oct. 15.


(Posted: 9/23/15)