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Experience Race Day at the El Paso Marathon
Experience Race Day at the El Paso Marathon

Race day jitters are a feeling everyone should experience at least once in their lives. You can feel the excited energy from the crowd of runners, fans, and spectators surrounding you as you bunch toward the starting line, wait for the gun to go off, and you get ready to run the course. Sunday, February 18, marks the 18th annual Michelob Ultra El Paso Marathon, a special running event that invites runners from across the region, the United States, and the world to visit El Paso and run 26.2 miles. Each year, the marathon encourages both residents and out-of-town visitors to race in either the marathon, the 13-mile half marathon, or the 5k (3.1 miles) run/walk.

President Salvador Almeida and Race Director Mike Coulter of the El Paso Runners Foundation spoke with Visit El Paso to discuss the El Paso marathon and its long-standing history in the community. Dating back to 2006, the El Paso Marathon began with the mission to produce a quality running event in El Paso to promote health and fitness and to raise funds for non-profit organizations in the city. “Since we’ve started the marathon, we have raised over $270,000 for the community,” said Almeida. Over the years, the El Paso Runners Foundation has contributed to the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation, the El Paso Boys & Girls Club, the Humane Society of El Paso, El Paso Fighting Hunger and several other organizations.

Not only is it the foundation’s mission to encourage people to exercise and live healthier lives by running and raising money for non-profits, but Almeida spoke of the importance the marathon plays in bringing tourism to the city. “An important objective of the marathon is to bring people to El Paso like marathons in other cities do – they bring a lot of tourism and people from all over can come to experience El Paso and get to know the region,” said Almeida. In the history of El Paso’s marathon, runners from across the globe have signed up, from Germany and Brazil to Australia and France. “We get great feedback from the runners saying the weather in El Paso is ideal to run the race. Runners search for a place with an interesting course and where the weather is favorable, so luckily El Paso provides both,” said Coulter.

Courtesy of El Paso Marathon

Courtesy of El Paso Marathon

The marathon’s course challenges runners to 26.2 miles, starting at San Elizario High School and finishing at the El Paso County Coliseum. Along the course, participants will run through the historic El Paso Mission Trail, neighborhoods, and Ascarate Park before reaching the finish line. For those not quite ready to challenge themselves to the full course, people may sign up to race in the half marathon or 5k race. Children ages 1 –11 are also encouraged to race in the Kid’s Dash.

On Saturday, February 17, registered runners will pick up their bib number, race shirt, and other goodies at the Health & Fitness Expo at the El Paso Coliseum. This year’s expo is sponsored by the El Paso Sports Commission and serves as the perfect opportunity to prepare for race day. On Sunday, runners for the half marathon and 5k will start and finish their races at the El Paso County Coliseum. After runners from all three races reach the finish line, they can enjoy the Michelob Ultra after-party to enjoy free beverages by Michelob Ultra, breakfast snacks, music, and a unique finisher’s medal to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing the race.

Courtesy of El Paso Marathon

Courtesy of El Paso Marathon

It takes the entire El Paso community to come together with the El Paso Runners Foundation to put on a spectacular race. Notable organizations that go above and beyond to host such a special event include Fort Bliss, the County of El Paso, the City of El Paso, Ysleta Independent School District, the El Paso Electric Company, the City of Socorro, and several more local organizations. Each organization plays a crucial role in providing over 400 volunteers to help pass out registration packets, manage 19 water stations, and create a memorable experience for all participants to walk away with and remember.

To register for the Michelob Ultra El Paso Marathon, the Raiz Federal Credit Union Half Marathon, or the Spine & Rehab Specialists 5k Run/Walk, visit ElPasoMarathon.Org.