We are gearing up for a big weekend here on the Coast. It’s almost time for the fourth Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon.
Around 3,700 people will be lacing up their sneakers for the fourth annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon and Half-Marathon this coming weekend. Gulf Coast Marathon Co-Founder Craig Sweeny said, “This is a couple million dollars in economic impact. I know we have filled up our block at the Beau Rivage and in Margaritaville. We have got a bunch of runners staying over there because that is close to Point Cadet where our 5K is.”
Runners from 47 states and four different countries are registered for the race. Sweeny says this race is a great way for people to experience the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “I think it has certainly met and in some ways surpassed our expectations. We’ve got, I think, 23 runners from Canada who are kind of flying south for the winter as a nice, sunny winter running destination. With 3,700 runners, over 56 percent are from out of state.”
For all the people running in the race this year, the time to beat for the full marathon is two hours and 27 minutes. Runner Annie Nabors said, “I decided to do this about four months ago. So, since then I have just been increasing my running time and trying to throw some sit-ups and push-ups in there.”
Nabors will be running her first half-marathon this weekend. She hopes to show people that running is a sport that anyone can enjoy. “A year ago, I could not run a mile and I’m running 13.1 on Sunday. I am so thrilled to do it. I think that also given our stigma here in Mississippi, it is the perfect opportunity to set an example to show Mississippi and the Gulf Coast that if you want to be fit and active and have a healthy lifestyle you absolutely can.”
The events will kick off on Saturday with the Margaritaville 5K at 8 a.m. at Point Cadet Marina followed by the kids race.
The marathon and half-marathon will begin on Sunday at 7 a.m. on Highway 90 in Pass Christian and at Jones Park in Gulfport.