GREEN BAY – There are some big changes being made for the 15th annual Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.
With 100 days until the race, runners like Meghan Wood are in training mode.
“So far so good,” said Wood. “I haven’t done a whole lot of mileage. I’m a little bit behind, but catching up hopefully.”
“People start putting in the longer training runs this time of year,” said Keith Lauristen, a trainer at the YMCA.
This year, the runners have a new course to prepare for. Race director Sean Ryan says road construction and Packers mini-camp forced some of the biggest changes the event has seen in the last ten years.
“We were basically forced to start with a clean sheet of paper,” said Ryan.
Comparing this year’s route to last year’s, big changes were made, including more miles in De Pere, downtown Green Bay, and a lap around City Stadium.
“We’re the only race in the country, to our knowledge, that’s going to go through not one, but two stadiums,” said Ryan.
The half marathon course has little change, still winding mostly through Ashwaubenon.
However, for the first time, those participants will start an hour later than the full marathon.
“If it all works as planned, I think this might be our permanent new model,” said Ryan.
Race officials say runners will see the benefit of the new staggered starts when they reach the race favorite lap around Lambeau Field.
“When you put them through there when they start at the same time, you create a situation where the marathoners are running in there with people going half their pace, which is somewhat nightmarish from an operational standpoint,” said Ryan.
While the runners we talked with like the changes, they say they shouldn’t be a huge impact on their experience.
“Just kind of getting out there and running is the whole part of it,” said Wood.
Race officials say depending on how things go this year, it could lead to increasing the number of runners allowed in future years.
Last year, more than 13,000 people participated in events throughout race weekend.