West Dallas Loop showcases new bridge, areas revitalization
Published: 31 May 2012 10:27 PM
MetroPCS Dallas Marathon officials hope to minimize runners fears and false speculation by releasing preliminary course designs for the Dec. 9 races in conjunction with the opening of race registration Friday.
Its a product people are paying for, said Lear Johnson, who helped design the new routes. The course is part of the product.
The marathon has preliminary city approval, but the Dallas Office of Special Events can require necessary changes before issuing the race permit.
Lori Chance, manager of the Office of Special Events, could not be reached for comment.
Both races will start on Main Street just east of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County. The start will be wider and offer easier corral access than runners experienced at Fair Park the last two years, marathon executive director Marcus Grunewald said.
Half and full marathoners will run approximately 6.5 miles together and will have separate finishes in front of the Dallas Convention Center on Griffin Street. The half course no longer merges back into the full, eliminating an inevitable bottleneck for marathoners.
Both routes incorporate a new West Dallas Loop, which includes the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and showcases ongoing revitalization efforts.
It oozes character, Grunewald said. Once runners experience it, theyll see its pretty cool.
Both courses are slated to pass the recently restored 40s Belmont Hotel, the Dallas World Aquarium, the Klyde Warren Park, the Arts District and Uptown in addition to the bridge. As runners leave downtown, theyll take Cedar Springs Road, which offers a smoother running surface than McKinney Avenue with its bricks and trolley tracks.
The half marathon will veer west on Turtle Creek Boulevard and past Reverchon Park, the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, which is the race beneficiary, and the Design District.
We are flattered to be one of the landmarks, said Ashley Givens, Senior Director of Special Events for the hospital.
Organizers opted to have the half marathon return to the west side and a second pass over the new bridge to minimize the impact on downtown churches, businesses and residential area, Johnson said.
The full marathon continues through Highland Park and University Park to White Rock Lake, where runners will traverse 4.5 miles around its east side. The approach to the lake is more direct with long stretches on St. Johns Drive and E. Mockingbird Lane.
Once runners reach the lake, the course remains virtually the same as it has been the past 10 years, said Grunewald, noting the inclusion of the Dolly Parton hills, Lakewood and historic Swiss Avenue.
As runners approach downtown on Main Street, theyll cross the DART light rail for the first time ever. Runners will be guided through the finish lines into the Dallas Convention Center for all post-race festivities.
Marathon officials said they will continue working with the city and with churches, residents and businesses along the route to ensure traffic plans are in place to minimize impact while producing the best possible run for participants.
Its a process, Johnson said. Its very much about harmony and balance and creating the best product we can within those constraints.
For information, visit dallasmarathon.com.