Lansing Preps For Inaugural Marathon

The Michigan Capitol is shown at twilight Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009, in Lansing, Mich. Lawmakers continue work on budget bills that deal with a $2.8 billion shortfall before an Oct. 1 deadline. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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The Capital City will be chock-full of runners this weekend, all in town for the first ever Lansing Marathon.

2,000 people are expected to run the full 26.2 mile course, thousands more will participate in the half marathon, 5K and Saturday kids race.

Richard Helder of East Lansing is one of the determined competitors. Helder has raced in many marathons, but says this one is a bit different.

For the first time he'll be running with his 14-year-old daughter Katie and it's the first time he'll be running at home.

"Finally someone decided to have a Lansing Marathon," Helder said emphatically. "Driving to Detroit is nice, driving to Grand Rapids is nice, Chicago of course is a blast but now I can just wake up in my own house and go to it."

The pair is eager for the challenge of the course, which starts and ends at the State Capitol.

"They will encounter a varied course, a very interesting course," Race Director Owen Anderson said. "It's not just a flat course through the city, it does have urban elements, but it also goes out into the country."

The Sunday race will pass through Lansing, East Lansing, even the Potter Park Zoo. Helder is excited for the home turf. Runners are equally pleased with the cool forecast. Lansing's weekend weather should be a far cry from Monday's Boston scorcher. Thousands dropped out of the famed marathon because of the blistering heat.

"A 40-50 degree day is a perfect day to run and we anticipate we'll have temperatures right around there," Pam Jacoby with the marathon said.

Organizers say the course will be open for seven hours to allow as many runners and walkers to finish as possible.

"I don't talk about times, I just want her to complete it and enjoy doing it," Helder said of his daughter's first run, in Lansing's first marathon.

Race organizers say the marathon should eventually pump $3-7 million into the local economy. The full marathon begins Sunday at 8 a.m.

The marathon is still looking for course marshalls. Those volunteers will help keep runners on track and keep cars and bikes off the course.

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