Race route
Not everyone can, or cares to, run 26.2 miles. But anyone can join the Dallas Marathon merriment. This Dec. 14, White Rock area residents who aren’t running, volunteering or otherwise participating in the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon generally have two choices: Either complain about the traffic, noise and other inconveniences related to the annual event or join the festivities. Chose the latter? What follows are tips for finding the ideal spectating spots. On Team Complain? This should come in handy in that case, too, by detailing areas to avoid.

A few highlights: The median along Swiss Avenue between Munger and La Vista offers one of the few locations from which fans can cheer their favorite marathoners running up and returning down opposite sides of the road. It also is the last chance to cheer half-marathon racers before the finish line.

Arguably the best marathon-morning parties happen at the base of the infamous Dolly Parton Hills in Lakewood (this year, miles 8 and 13). As part of a time-honored tradition, a group of neighborhood fellas dress up as the aforementioned curvy country singer and dispense beverages (be advised: It’s probably beer).

This year’s course is different from years past. Unlike 2012’s race (2013 was canceled due to ice), it abandons Oak Cliff and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and instead incorporates the Santa Fe Trail, looping into Lakewood Hills and Hollywood-Santa Monica.

The race’s executive director, Marcus Grunewald, explained last year that every time the board makes a change, “it’s to make the race better.” Changes are based on both feedback from runners and requirements of the city, he has said. Planning the course is a convoluted ordeal that requires cooperation with police, DART, parks and recreation, traffic and “practically every city department.”

A couple of points for marathon detractors to ponder: Over the years the Dallas Marathon (formerly the White Rock Marathon) has donated more than $3 million to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, which provides free medical treatment to sick and disabled children. The event also boosts the city’s economy by about $9 million, according to a study of the 2011 White Rock Marathon by SMU Cox School of Business professors.

More  at dallasmarathon.com

Course highlights, for spectators

Start and finish line: Downtown Dallas near Pioneer Plaza, 1428 Young

Mile 3: Uptown and West Village near The Rustic (3656 Howell), Mutts Canine Cantina (2889 Cityplace) and West Village

Miles 4-6: Parks in the Turtle Creek neighborhood, along Oak Lawn

Mile 6: Highland Park near the newly renovated Highland Park City Hall (4814 Abbott)

Miles 8-9: Greenville Avenue between Richmond and Longview near Granada Theater

Mile 10: Swiss between Munger and La Vista

Mile 11 and 22: Lakewood Shopping Center

Mile 13 and 18: Lawther at Lakeshore

Mile 18.2: Santa Fe Trail at The Lot (East Grand at Lawther)

Final mile: Sandbar Cantina, Double Wide or the Deep Ellum Dog Park, all located in Deep Ellum, along 2nd and Commerce

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