In celebration of its 15-year anniversary, GO! St. Louis has announced exciting changes to its marathon route that will take participants on the Eads and MLK bridges and extend into Illinois. Overall, planners expect the race to be flatter, faster, and more scenic.
“A new course has been something that we wanted to offer the community for many years, so after planning started for our 15-year anniversary, we decided it was a great time to start the process to make it a reality, said Nancy Lieberman,” president of GO! St. Louis, a local not-for-profit organization that specializes in presenting fitness events and programs year-round. “A project of this magnitude, extending over 26 miles, is a true collaborative effort from our staff, board members, city and state officials, community and corporate partners, which all play a vital part in planning and approving a safe, and scenic course that will create lasting memories to be cherished by thousands of participants.”
The new race course will be in affect at the 2015 GO! St. Louis Marathon, Half Marathon and Marathon Relay, set for April 12. A result of months of planning and meetings with local officials in Missouri and Illinois, the 26.2 mile course is designed to showcase the beautiful Mississippi riverfront, from both the Missouri and Illinois sightlines, as participants traverse on the Eads and MLK bridges. In addition, the course maintains some of the elements from the previous course, such as views of the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Skyline, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Soulard, Union Station Saint Louis University and Forest Park.
The new course will see competitors from all across the U.S. converging on the region in early April to run a marathon, half marathon or marathon relay. The start and finish areas remain unchanged, both located near Soldier’s Memorial. Other significant features include a rescaling of the elevation, which makes for a flatter and faster route, along with a “Race within a Race,” a 3.5 mile portion of the course that starts at the entrance to the Eads Bridge and concludes after crossing the MLK Bridge. The new stretch, named Bridge Challenge 3.5, will record individual times for participants in the marathon and half marathon, while recognizing top age group winners with a medal and commemorative chocolate bar from Crown Candy.
In addition, the popular St. Louis-themed finish line food will return to reward participants after they cross the finish line. Runners and walkers will enjoy Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Pasta House Toasted Ravioli, Michelob ULTRA and Crown Candy Kitchen.
“I’m very excited that we were able to construct a race course that not only participants will be inspired to compete on, but that showcases our region to thousands of participants,” said Brian Lyons, GO! St. Louis director of race management. “Our previous race course, which remained relatively unchanged for many years, was scenic but challenging, with upgrade elevation in many areas. This new course certainly eliminates a good portion of the hilly terrain and should prove for a flatter and faster course for participants.”
The GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend (Previously Spirit of St. Louis Marathon) started in 2000 with 2,500 participants, and as the organization celebrates in 15-year anniversary in 2015, it has grown into a community fitness leader that attracts more than 50,000 individuals in a variety of year-round races and programs. The Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend is the organization’s signature event and features a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay on Sunday, April 12, and a 5K, children’s fun runs and a mature mile on Saturday, April 11 in Forest Park.
To view the complete course or for more event information visit www.gostlouis.org.
Image: GO! St. Louis