Runners from all over gather in Oklahoma City Saturday and Sunday for the annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, held in honor of those who died in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building downtown.
The marathon event, called Run to Remember, is the primary fundraiser for the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which is privately owned and receives no annual funding from state or federal governments.
When the marathon was first launched two decades ago, it attracted just under 5,000 participants, but now averages 25,000 runners and walkers each year. The marathon begins with 168 seconds of silence in memory of the 168 victims of the attack.
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To better help participants prepare, The Oklahoman reviews marathon schedules, road closures and weather forecasts for the busy race weekend.
What are the routes of the OKC Memorial Marathon?
Saturday kicks off with a Memorial 5K at 7:30 a.m. and a kids’ marathon at 9:00 a.m. Attendees were encouraged to pick up their packages ahead of time at the Oklahoma City Convention Center during the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday, where a wide array of healthcare-caring products and services will be on display.
Sunday’s full marathon and marathon relay start at 6:30 a.m., with the half marathon starting at 7:30 a.m.
The various races start in front of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum between 5th and 6th on Harvey Avenue.
The 26.2-mile full marathon course stretches through historic northeast and northwest Oklahoma City neighborhoods, including Bricktown and Mesta Park, passes right by the State Capitol and ends at Scissortail Park.
After:View a route map and see which roads will be closed for the 2022 OKC Memorial Marathon
Which streets will be closed during the OKC Memorial Marathon?
Traffic is expected to be heavier throughout “Race Weekend”, with several streets and roads closed to accommodate marathon participants.
On Saturday, 5K marathon courses will begin closing at 5:30 a.m., including Harvey Ave, SW 15 and Walker Ave. Roads. The first kilometer terminal will reopen its street at 8:25 a.m., with the last reopening scheduled for noon for the start line of the race.
On Sunday, streets will begin closing for the first mile of the full marathon at 4:30 a.m., including sections of Harvey Ave, Park, Robinson and Reno. At 7 a.m., all streets along the route are expected to be closed. The first reopening is scheduled for around 8:30 a.m. for the first mile and the last reopening is not scheduled until 1:40 p.m. at the end of the 26-mile race.
“Race Weekend 2022” coincides with Oklahoma City’s annual Downtown Arts Festival, a springtime tradition held in nearby Bicentennial Park. The festival will end on Sunday, the same day as the marathons, half-marathons and relays.
Streets have also been closed around the park in consideration of the festival, with sections of Colcord Drive, Couch Drive and Lee and Walker Avenues not expected to reopen until April 30.
After:Which streets in Oklahoma City are closing for the Arts Festival?
City officials advised drivers to plan their travel times in advance, keeping in mind the two events from mid-April to the end.
What will the weather be like during the OKC Memorial Marathon?
Forecasters don’t expect heavy rain to hit the Oklahoma City subway until Saturday evening between 8 and 11 p.m., hours after the day’s pre-marathon events such as the 5K.
“There are likely to be some lingering showers early Sunday, but severe weather should be limited to Saturday evening,” said Mark Fox, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Norman. “The wind is what will definitely be there.”
High-speed wind is the most pressing concern for meteorologists throughout the weekend, with sustained winds averaging 20mph and wind gusts of up to 40mph on Saturday and Sunday.
“If they could maybe change the course of the marathon so it’s all downwind that would be great, but it’s definitely going to be slow in that wind,” Fox said.
Marathon officials say they have the right to cancel the race “if weather or other physical conditions present a danger to participants”.
According to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the marathon website, rain alone is not sufficient reason to cancel the marathon, but “less threatening conditions could result in a change to the race and/or race route or the duration of the race to ensure participant, volunteer and community safety.”