Runners can officially add the Lincoln Marathon to their race calendars.
Registration for the event, which includes a full and a half-marathon, opened Saturday. The Lincoln Marathon, in its 43rd year, is May 3.
The race is capped at 12,000 runners, race director Nancy Sutton said. Last year’s race, which had the same cap, drew about 10,000 runners. In previous years, the race was capped at 13,500 runners and sold out, sometimes within a day.
Sutton attributes the dip in numbers to runners having more race options from which to choose. But organizers are happy with the numbers they’re getting.
“We’d like to draw more, but this is a good number for us,” Sutton said.
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The races start on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and end on the 50-yard line inside Memorial Stadium. The event is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
The football field finish line is a perk for runners, Sutton said. Runners sometimes toss around footballs after finishing.
“I can only imagine running onto that field after you’ve completed 13.1 or 26.2 miles and feeling that thrill,” she said.
The cost to run the full marathon is $90, while the half-marathon is $70.
Among Nebraska’s other popular endurance races is the Good Life Halfsy, another Lincoln race. It saw 6,500 runners last fall.
The Omaha Marathon drew about 1,500 runners last year, down from about 4,000 runners in 2013, when New York-based HITS Endurance first organized the event. The Nebraska Marathon drew about 1,000 runners, and the Heartland Marathon drew about 700. The Nebraska and Heartland races were impacted by rain and flooding. Those three Omaha events fell on consecutive weekends last year.