The Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K is expected to attract more than 800 runners from 30 states when the event is run for the first time Sunday morning.
Rogelio Quintanar, owner of St. Simons Island-based Quintanar Running Company and one of the event organizers, said he is not surprised the inaugural race is attracting such a large field of runners.
It’s a flat, fast course that will enable runners to post good times, weather permitting. Serious runners will have a chance to post times good enough to qualify for some of the larger marathons held across the nation, Quintanar said.
“We’ll have a handful of runners who will go sub three hours,” he said.
The marathon starts at 7:30 a.m., followed by the 10K at 7:45 a.m. Quintanar said more runners have signed up to participate in the 10K, including many local runners. Many other community members have worked behind the scenes to organize the race, which is co-sponsored by Atlanta-based Peak Racing.
“It’s a community effort,” he said.
The public is encouraged to watch the race from the many vantage points along the scenic route.
There is no admission other than the $6 toll to get to the island.
Runners will start at the Jekyll Island Convention Center and run north on Beachview Drive. At about the 5-mile mark, runners will move onto a bike path that takes them past scenic marshes, live oak trees and Driftwood Beach.
The route will take runners past the Westin Hotel, where they will get another view of the ocean before leaving the path to Riverview Drive. They will turn left on Harbor Road and pick up the bike path after running under the Jekyll Island Causeway Bridge.
Just past the Historic District, runners till veer onto Captain Wylly Road and turn around just past the 18-mile mark near the Jekyll Island Golf Course.
Runners will reconnect with the bike path until they reach the finish line at Great Dunes Park.
The 10K course has runners flooding the same path as the marathon, but runners turn at the three-mile mark and return on the Beachwalk path, where they get a great view of the ocean.
Sunday’s race marks the first time an organized marathon will have been held on a barrier island in Georgia, Quintanar said.
Pre-race activities start Friday with race packet pickup and a pasta dinner in a private room at the Westin Jekyll Island. Packet pickup, pre-race fun and race briefings will be held Saturday.
Breakfast will be served starting 4:30 a.m. Sunday leading up to the races.
The 10K awards will be given at 10 a.m. at Great Dunes Park. The marathon winners will be awarded at 2 p.m. at Great Dunes Park.
A post-race party will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Westin Jekyll Island.