Runners from 38 states and four countries will participate in the second annual Army Marathon on Sunday to qualify for a race in Boston and to help some worthy charities.
As of Wednesday, Race Director Ed Bandas said 1,300 people signed up for the marathon. Registration ends at 6 p.m. today.
Bandas said he wants to make everyone feel welcome.
“Everybody understands that this is going to be a wonderful event for years to come and certainly will help put a signature on Central Texas as a destination for athletes from all over the world,” he said.
The marathon — a qualifying race for the 2015 Boston Marathon — kicks off at 7 a.m. Sunday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and wraps up in Temple. A 5k and half marathon also will be run in Temple.
Bandas and three other retired servicemen started the event to raise money and awareness for veterans’ charities.
“We continue to grow this event here in Central Texas,” Bandas said. “We just think it’s the right time and the right place to do something like this.”
Last year’s marathon was won by Richard Shaw with a time of 2 hours, 51 minutes, 22 seconds.
This year, the event raises money for the Military Childhood Education Coalition, America’s Fund, TAPS, WISH for our Heroes and Team RWB. The 2013 marathon raised $25,000.
The second running of the marathon should have a different feel to it since last year’s inaugural event took place six days after a bombing at the Boston Marathon killed three and injured more than 250 people.
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said 200 to 300 deputies and officers will be on patrol Sunday along with firemen and emergency workers. He was thankful last year’s event went on without any incidents.
“We want to make sure that we have enough of our people on site for traffic flow and disrupt our citizens the least we possibly can,” Lange said.
The marathon may pose an inconvenience for motorists Sunday morning, particularly at the starting line in Killeen and the finish line in Temple. One lane of W.S. Young Drive will be shut down beginning at 6 a.m., and Bandas encouraged people to access the civic center from Elms Road.
The only road closures will be along the Belton Lake dam and Hilliard Road in Temple.
From the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, the race route goes through Harker Heights, passes Nolanville on Farm-to-Market 439, travels through Belton and down Hilliard Road between FM 2305 and Airport Road in Temple.
People wishing to cheer on runners from the finish line are encouraged to take Airport Road to the Scott & White West Campus facility.
A shuttle bus will take people from the parking lot to the finish line, where vendor and charity booths will be set up, along with children’s activities.