The Columbia SC Marathon will start at 7:15 Saturday morning. The race begins at the intersection of Senate and Park streets and ends at the intersection of Pendleton and Lincoln streets. Winners should be crossing the finish line after 9 a.m. A health and fitness expo is at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center noon-8 p.m. Friday, where you can pick up your packets and see the latest in fitness gear.
Nearly ideal running weather is forecast for Saturday, temperatures rising from the low 40s to the upper 50s throughout the morning, a breeze in the 7-10 mph range, a few clouds in the sky and almost no chance of rain.
The Columbia Marathon is also the only marathon in the state with a course that contains two 13.1-mile loops. Originally, the course was going to be point-to-point, starting in Ballentine and going through Lexington County and West Columbia before finishing in the Vista. Race Director Dan Hartley said the original route could not get approved by Lexington County for various reasons and was then moved to downtown.
“I would have liked to have made it a one-loop course, but after spending a lot of time with the Columbia Police Department, the route we have (starting in the Vista, going through Shandon and Lake Katherine and ending back in the Vista) was the only way it was going to happen.” Hartley said.
Blossom Street, from Huger to Lincoln street, 7:15 to 11:15 a.m.
1100 block of Park Street, from Senate to Gervais street, 3 to 7:30 a.m.
Park Street, from Senate to Blossom street, 7:15 to 7:45 a.m.
Lincoln Street, from Senate to Pendleton street, 3 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pendleton Street, from Park to Lincoln street, 3 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lincoln Street, from Pendleton to Blossom street, 7:15 to 11:15 a.m.
Where to watch the marathon
If you’re not running the Columbia SC Marathon Saturday but want to support someone who is, here are The State’s recommendations for the best places to view the race.
At mile 2 (and again at mile 15 since the 26.2 mile course is two loops), this is one of the first long inclines runners face. Avoid the chaos of the start line and set up shop on the sidewalk or the grassy median to catch the runners’ excitement early on in the race — and to encourage them as they trudge up it the second time with still 11 miles to go.
Park: You can park on a side street or in Five Points and walk up.
Runners will definitely need your support on Trenholm Road at miles 9 and 10 (also 22 to 23, approximately). This is the longest stretch of hills on the course and where signs, cheers, and words of support will go a long way. At the top of the first incline is Eastminster Presbyterian Church, which has space for parking and spectating.
Normally a hub of activity for USC, Greene Street will be pretty quiet as students will still be either sleeping or not yet back from spring break. There will be lots of room for people to congregate here.
Parking: If you can’t snag a metered spot nearby, try parking at Pendleton Garage for $5 and walking up. Same goes for recommendations four and five.
Enjoy the scenic beauty of the historic Horseshoe as you watch marathoners near the end of their first lap and when they head for the finish on the second lap. Grab breakfast or coffee at Carolina Cafe across the street and settle in.
You’re going to want to be watching at the finish line. Here is the place where you will see the more intense anguish, joy, exhaustion, camaraderie and competition than anywhere else on the course. Line up early along the sidewalk at Pendleton Street in the Vista to get the best views of the day.
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