Local runners itching for a challenge will get their wish next week. The Runners Marathon of Reston is set to return March 30, when more than 700 competitors will descend on South Lakes High School for the second annual event.
The Reston Runners, a longstanding club of about 1,000 runners and walkers, put on its first full-fledged marathon to much fanfare last March. The race accommodated 679 entrants, about 10 percent of which were members of the Reston Runners.
This year, 267 full marathoners and 472 half-marathoners signed up before the March 16 deadline, their residences spanning 30 states and three countries, including Canada and Brazil. About 275 volunteers will be on hand, 25 more than last year.
The setup will remain the same as last year, with about a third of the course winding through Reston’s paved trail system and the rest spanning roads from Sunrise Valley Drive to Lawyers Road. Marathon start time is set for 7:30 a.m., and roads are scheduled to re-open to traffic at 1:30 p.m.
As they did last year, organizers aim to put together all the little things they like about marathons, from extensive snack and water availability to hassle-free packet pickup.
“We’re trying to optimize all our personal experiences and what we really like about marathons,” said Mike Mackert, vice president of Reston Runners. “We want to combine that into a hometown event that people will talk about and want to be part of.”
New entertainment will be on hand this year to serenade runners as they grind toward the finish line. Faraway Songs, Alex Young, Mark Murgia, Jahre Pickens and They Call Me Piano are some of the musical groups that will be stationed throughout the course. The Sean Chyun Band, a three-man rock group out of the DMV, will set up shop near the finish line.
Sunday’s race will again donate its proceeds to the Reston Runners Community Fund, an independent fund that contributes $1,000 scholarships to one boy and one girl at both South Lakes and Herndon High.
“We want to encourage running in particular,” Reston Runners President Bill D’Agostino said, “and we felt the best way to do that would be to reward athletes from the respective high schools that our running population draws from.”
Last year’s winning full-marathon times came from Lee Kaufman (2 hours 52 minutes 21 seconds) and Devin Nihill (3:09:49).