The Dec. 9 MetroPCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon courses have been revamped in an effort to increase safety, reduce traffic impact and improve the runner experience.
âThe goal is to make the simplest of all designs,â said Lear Johnson, marathon race director and primary course designer. âComplicated is not a good thing in our business.â
Preliminary 2012 courses were released on June 1, pending final approval by Dallasâ Office of Special Events, which issues road race permits.
Throughout the summer, city officials requested modifications to minimize impact on businesses and churches along the prospective routes and to meet recently released Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge guidelines. Runner feedback also contributed to revisions.
The full marathon has received city approval. The half marathon course, which required more realignment, still awaits the cityâs decision regarding how runners will pass by the new Klyde Warren Park. USA Track & Field course certification, which is in progress, could result in slight variations.
âWe are trying to create very run-able courses that are, at the same time, invisible to the rest of the city,â Johnson said. âThe two goals are diametrically opposed â¦ picking areas that are exciting but have a minimal traffic impact.â
Here are some of the major changes:
Meeting Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge guidelines necessitated a slight reordering of the neighborhoods traversed to ensure runner safety and access by emergency vehicles.
Eliminating the potential for the fastest half marathoners to catch up to the slowest half walkers meant rerouting the half course so it doesnât lap over itself. Half marathon runners will cross the bridge once, not twice as originally planned.
The full and half courses will pass by Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the race beneficiary.
The two courses will combine for approximately eight miles, including a stretch on Turtle Creek Boulevard to Lakeside Drive to Armstrong Avenue. From Armstrong, the full marathoners veer north to Byron Avenue and east toward White Rock Lake. Half marathoners circle clockwise and head south via St. Johns Drive to Turtle Creek Boulevard and back to the finish on South Griffin Street.
A spectator-friendly out-and-back stretch for half marathons was created on Turtle Creek Boulevard to reduce traffic impact and provide an easily accessible cheering area.
Full marathoners will be routed eastbound to Central Expressway along a series of residential streets, avoiding commercial portions of Mockingbird Lane until it becomes more residential east of Abrams Road.
The Arts District will be bypassed, a concession to downtown churches concerned about Sunday morning access to downtown off Woodall Rodgers.