Runners gearing up for the Memorial Marathon

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Metal fences are already set up around the starting line. The big day is just around the corner.

“We want to beat the governor!” said Hannah Faulkenberry, who is running the relay.

“Anyone can do it. It’s a mental thing. Around mile 10, I’m not too happy but once you hit that finish line, it’s amazing,” said half marathon runner Christy Southerland.

“This is the first big race I’ve been a part of. I’m really excited to see how big the crowd is,” said relay runner, Zach Gray.

But among all the excitement comes a lot of planning. Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon organizers work year-round planning this race to make it the best of the best.

“Oklahoma City is changing. We’re all delighted by that. But we’ve got to adapt and change with it. So, we’re evaluating the course and making those changes and we’ll keep changing it until we get it where everybody loves it,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director with the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

Watkins said with this many people packing the streets of downtown OKC, safety is never overlooked.

“We have hundreds of police officers working in Oklahoma City, Nichols Hills and the Village. Oklahoma Highway Patrol steps in and helps. The sheriff’s department steps in and helps. Homeland Security is here. The security measure alone is huge,” Watkins said.

Patrols will have their eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary.

“We’re watching and looking for lone wolves all the time. But we’re here because of an event. So, we always take security seriously,” Watkins said.

But the runners said when they’re lacing up those sneakers Sunday morning, only one thing will be on their mind.

“You can’t go to a race like this and not remember the families that were affected by it and the survivors that are still here to tell the story,” Faulkenberry said.

This year the finish line will be at Myriad Gardens. But come next year it will be at Scissortail Park when construction is completed.

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