Hear live music while cheering your favorite marathoner: Photo by Benjamin Hager

For thousands of participants, Dallas Marathon Sunday equals the culmination of tireless training, fulfilled dreams, an opportunity to cross that finish line on exhausted legs betwixt parallel throngs of cheering, admiring fans.

For tons of neighbors, supporters and spectators, it’s a break-of-dawn party, a reason to dance in the streets and sing and dress in weird costumes and guzzle beer at 9 a.m. (It’s one of our 50 tried-and-true holiday season traditions).

Still, for others, it is a nightmare of a day — your street is closed, you’re a prisoner in your own unbearably noisy neighborhood; some East Dallas churches even cancel services for this godforsaken event. The blasphemy. (Marathon representatives every year meet with every church affected by the race. There are some 20 along the route … they also visit every business that is open Sunday mornings and every neighborhood association that might be impacted, we reported in a previous story.)

Here’s all you need to know about this Sunday, whichever category you claim.

Marathon weekend begins Friday at 11 a.m., with a health and fitness expo at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. All marathon entrants have to attend the expo in order to pickup their race bib, timing chip and so forth. Expect most hotels in the area to be booked, most parking spaces downtown to be occupied all weekend. The marathon this year is sold out (a few spots are still available in the half marathon and relay-team events).

The fitness expo continues through Saturday — 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

There is a pre-marathon race downtown on Saturday. It’s the Mayor’s 5k, and it begins at 9:30 a.m. outside the convention center. It’s fun for kids and includes a 1-miler for the little ones.

Marathon Sunday starts outside the convention center in the wee morning hours, as runners and volunteers begin gathering at about 5 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. Here is a map of the course:

2016 course

Here is a link to a full list of road closures and times, so non-participants can plan your escape routes.

But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Here is a closer look at some of the best spots to root for your favorite runners. You might see some local celebrities along the way — the “Beat the Press” relay team consists of several high-profile broadcasters (The Ticket’s Corby Davidson of Lake Highlands, Lakehill graduate/sportscaster Gina Miller, Mavs announcer Mark Followill, East Dallas/ KSCS’s “Hawkeye” and TV’s Doug Dunbar, to name a few).

Cheer zones 2016

Spectator cheering zones were planned by BMW, the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, FC Dallas, Texas Rangers and multiple community groups, race organizers say.

The BMW-sponsored Dallas Marathon has the answers to all your other questions on its website.

Read our 2012 story about the history, logistics and economic impact of the annual event, where we reported that “the marathon boosted overall economic activity in the city by $8.7 million, according to a economic and fiscal study of the 2011 event … countywide, the White Rock Marathon surpassed $11 million and supported 120 jobs, both full-time and seasonal.”

Also of note is the marathon’s annual donation to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for children … Since adopting the hospital as a beneficiary, the marathon has donated more than $3.8 million.

And, for more fun, check out our very aesthetic, cerebral photo montage of The Year the Marathon Was Not.


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