More than 22,000 runners are getting ready to hit the streets of OKC for the 17th Memorial Marathon. Runners from all 50 states, along with 10 other countries, will be taking part to remember and celebrate the lives of the 168 people killed in the 1995 bombing.
This year’s race includes a newly designed area for spectators and runners to see the history of Oklahoma City and how it has recovered and flourished in the years since 1995. The Oklahoma Standard Stretch is half a mile, previously not a popular area for spectators and a tough terrain for runners, starting at NW 23rd and Classen Blvd.
Linking Oklahoma’s Young Adult Leaders (LOYAL) and the OKC Memorial team, which came up with the idea, wanted to attract more spectators to a certain race area and show Oklahoma’s story to visitors.
LOYAL’s Alex Kaiser explains, “This race has runners from all 50 states, and we are incredibly excited to show people from around the country the strength, faith and resilience of Oklahoma City and its amazing citizens.
“2017 will be the first year for the Oklahoma Standard Stretch, and we are confident this event will become a spectator staple at the Memorial Marathon for years to come.”
According to Kaiser, the stretch will “visually take the runners” from the moment the bombing happened “all the way through the renaissance of Oklahoma City since the bombing, with a special focus on the resilience of Oklahoma City and its citizens over the last 22 years.”
Images lining the stretch vary from the heroic efforts of first responders to the creation of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum to revitalization efforts such as our flourishing arts districts and MAPS initiative.
A free spectator party complete with food trucks, yard games, sign decorating, and music has been organized for the end of the Standard Stretch on the NE corner of 18th and Classen Blvd, from 7 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Runners can still register for Oklahoma Memorial Marathon races through Saturday, and more information can be found here.
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