Sunday's White Rock Marathon looks like it will be bigger. And better: Thanks to the first sponsor -- Wellstone's -- in its 36-year history, the Rock will this year award a record $150,000 in prize money.
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Sprinkled around the 26.2-mile course Sunday will be 12,000 runners; 100,000 spectators; 300 police officers; countless discarded cups and tons of memories. Olympic hero Michael Johnson will start the race, and former marathon queen Joan Benoit Samuelson will run it. There's even a pre-game show Saturday night and a live 90-minute coverage show Sunday morning on WFAA-Channel 8. The festivities actually kicked off today when celebs and runners dumped T-shirts, toy Hummers and smiles on the kids at the race's charity of choice, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
But the best part, race officials haven't been too stubborn to tweak/improve their product.
In light of last year's inaugural Cooper Gender Challenge, in which women runners were given a 20-minute head start, Rock leaders said feedback was 90-percent positive. Shade me in as the other 10 percent. This year the gender gap gets closed a little, with that head start shrunk to around 15 minutes or so. The first runner -- male or female -- to cross the finish line will receive $35,000, so the drama should be real and real exciting.
In unrelated news, anyone else think it was weird/sad that Thursday's Dallas Morning News' sports section front page included an ad at the bottom? Last time I checked this was Dallas, not Des Moines. Even worse, the ad was for hand guns, produced by Smith & Wesson, available at Academy. Weird, I tell ya. --Richie Whitt