What You Should Know About the Dallas Marathon This Weekend, Even If You're Not Running
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What You Should Know About the Dallas Marathon This Weekend, Even If You're Not Running

Thousands of runners will take to the streets of Dallas on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9-10, to test their wills and bodies in the 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon. Although many of the runners participating in the races are Dallasites, the event draws runners from across the world. Events include a 5K, 10K, five-person relay, half marathon and marathon.

Even if you’re not participating in this weekend’s events, if you live south of LBJ Freeway and east of Interstate 35, there’s a good chance you’ll be affected by the marathon. The half marathon and marathon courses run through downtown, Uptown, Highland Park, the M Streets, Lakewood, White Rock and Deep Ellum. Check BMWDallasMarathon.com for road closures.

The Dallas Observer caught up with Paul Lambert, president of the marathon, to see what runners can expect this weekend.

How many runners are expected this year? Is there an increase from last year?
Approximately 30,000 runners are expected for the weekend — up approximately 20 percent from last year’s race.

This year there are significant changes to the course. The biggest change is that the course for the full marathon includes a complete lap around White Rock Lake. What prompted the change?
We wanted to improve our guest experience, showcasing the many scenic areas with the highlights of Dallas and White Rock Lake.

What other changes can runners expect this year?
There’s many changes this year. New races were added, such as the 10K on Saturday and the BMW Series [completing races Saturday and Sunday]. There’s a new start and finish line in front of City Hall. The post-race party is now adjacent to the start/finish line. There’s a new VIP experience in the Pegasus Runners Lounge; a new start line show featuring sizzle videos, music and pyrotechnics; finisher shirts; Landmark series finisher medals; Fitful snack boxes; improved on-course entertainment featuring cheer zones, bands and BMW car activations; an improved post-race party with signature band Emerald City; and an enhanced expo with a BMW auto show, family entertainment and upscale, event-specific merchandise.

What improvements have been made with feedback from last year’s race in mind?
We made course adjustments with the marathon going around White Rock Lake. We also now have finishers’ shirts. We united the start and finish line with the post-race party to centralize the energy, and we enhanced spectator viewing and experience.

Shalane Flanagan, this year’s winner of the New York City Marathon and the first American woman to win it in 40 years, is an elite ambassador of the BMW Dallas Marathon for the first time. How did she get involved, and what can we expect to see from her in that role?
I met her at the Boston Marathon this year. She will be active all weekend long at the expo Friday and Saturday, making appearances and presentations. She will start the 5K and 10K on Saturday, as well as being there to greet finishers with medals at Saturday's and Sunday’s races. She will also be at the post-race party on Sunday.

Finally, what personal advice do you have for this year’s runners?
Enjoy the entire event weekend — the expo, races, post-race parties — and embrace the opportunity to be healthy and take part in a world-class event in Dallas.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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