MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Police Department is preparing for the annual Myrtle Beach Marathon on Saturday. There will be road closures and extra security measures that runners and spectators need to know about.
"We have runners on all of our major thoroughfares throughout the city of Myrtle Beach," said Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby. "This race takes up the entire city."
The annual 26.2 mile race will close down major main thoroughfares of the city including pars of Kings Highway, Ocean Boulevard, Grissom and Farrow Parkways. There will be some route changes in the Market Common area. Runners will be funneled up Farrow Parkway, then follow Howard Street, then cross over to Reed Street, and then run back down Farrow and out to 17 Business to continue to race.
Some business owners along the entire route are concerned every year to lose business or customers because of closures and parking problems. But for other business owners, the more foot traffic, the better.
"If you have a great business and a great product and great customer service, people don't mind a little bit of a walk," said T.J. Weeden, the owner of the Roasted Bean in the Market Common.
And the traffic congestion will continue past the race Saturday morning. There are also several sporting events going on this same weekend. There is a gymnastics meet and several soccer tournaments as well.
Lt. Crosby recommends avoiding 21st through 29th Avenues North on Grissom Parkway at all costs on Saturday morning. Routes that will be clear to use as detour routes on Saturday include Oak Street, parts of Kings Highway, and 17 Bypass. Northbound Ocean Boulevard will be open for runners only. So if you're staying in a hotel along Ocean Boulevard, park on the west side of the street so you can get in and out.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department is launching an interactive website that provides a route map for the race. It will show any closures, delays, medical stops, and when different blockades will potentially open back up. You can find the map by clicking here: www.MyrtleBeachEventMaps.com. Or go to the department's website and click on the "Special Events" tab. This map will be updated for any special events for the city. After the marathon, it will provide information for BikeFest.
There will be some extra security measures for the marathon and heading into the spring, festival, and summer seasons. Lt. Crosby encourages all spectators and runners to leave any bags at home. If you do bring a bag, plan for some extra time for it to be checked.
"We want to encourage anyone if they do not have to bring a bag, please do not bring a bag," said Crosby. "But certainly we will have the proper security measures in place to make sure everyone is safe if you do bring a bag."
The SkyWatch tower will be out at the village for the marathon. It is another tool that will be used throughout the busy tourist season.