MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A total 2611 runners finished the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Sunday morning. The race of 13.1 miles incorporated lots of cheering fans, musical bands, and even a few marriage proposals at the finish line along the Myrtle Beach boardwalk.
"The course was really fast. I enjoyed it. There was a lot of scenery, a lot of people cheering us on," said Stan Newsome of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. "It's a good finish. You have bands all along the way. It's a good family atmosphere."
The half marathon was Newsome's first race of that length. He said he ran a 5k earlier in the year and decided to keep training. He lost 70 pounds between May and October he said.
A flat course in a beautiful setting made the race an easy choice for his first half marathon.
Those factors also influenced Lisa Blake from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"The weather is great. The race shirts are great, and the medals are outstanding," Blake said. "Of the five I've ran this is probably the best half marathon, and I tell you what, with the course it's right up there with Boston."
Race director Robert Pozo said year two incorporated some lessons learned last year, like changing the running route to lessen the negative effects on traffic and those headed to church.
"Anyone who tells you they're doing it perfect, they're lying to themselves, and they're lying to everybody else," Pozo said. "Every year we learn."
Pozo also knows city leaders expect the race to attract lots of people outside the traditional tourism season.
"We market throughout the entire United States," he explained. "This is not just local and regional."
Blake said that marketing worked on her. Now she has the bank account withdrawals to prove it.
"[I spent] probably a total of about six or seven hundred dollars, just for the three days," Blake said.
She and Newsome said with all the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon race has going for it, they could see it more than triple in size in just a few years.
"I've got kids, and we can come down and make it a family event," Newsome said. "I'm going to be back next year."
Race organizers estimate there were about 4,500 people in Myrtle Beach for the half marathon, including the runners and their families and friends. That also includes estimates for the 5k race and the charity high heel run and doggie dash on Saturday.
In 2010, 2704 people finished the race. Pozo said although the number of finishers was lower this year, the number of registrations was about the same as last year.
He also said the 5k race sold out this year. 638 people finished the 5k this year, compared to 525 runners in 2010.