Marathons Explode in Popularity in North Texas

Organizer says Olympics may have inspired competitors

Records are breaking before North Texas runners ever get anywhere near the finish line.

Registrations for the White Rock Marathon are up more than 200 percent, according to Marcus Grunewald, the race director.

The Dallas race expanded this year to accommodate an additional 2,000 runners, and organizers expect it to be at capacity within the next two weeks.

The Dallas Running Club said it has to turn away runners for its November half-marathon because of a sudden spike in registrations.

"There's been a surge in running as a means of maintaining your health and improving your health," Grunewald said.

He said the Summer Games may also have inspired more runners.

"It's an Olympic year, too," he said. "The marathon got a lot of press in the Olympics. People were aware of that, and that kind of fires them up (and) gets them excited."

Two North Texas women said they are preparing to run the White Rock Half Marathon in December, their first half marathon.

"I have been training probably for about three months, going a little bit more each time," Lauren Grady said.

Nicolette Woodburn said she has experienced more than just physical and emotional benefits while training.

"It's been fun meeting people out here," she said.

Grunewald also said running can offer social benefits.

"We ask people, what would they rather do -- would they rather meet their next date at a bar or at mile 16 of the marathon?" he said.

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