Marathoners who planned to run New York City’s famed race were left race-less when the competition was canceled. Rather than waste months of preparation, many of the runners are heading for other courses. They’re having a huge impact on the race in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Andy Wahilla, race director for the Harrisburg Marathon, said his numbers have sky-rocketed ever since New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called off that race.
“I get an email everytime someone registers for our race and I started getting all these emails on my phone all at once,” Wahilla said. “A friend called me and said New York was just canceled and I knew that was it. We just closed our register early for the first time ever. Eleven-hundred people signed up, which is a hugh number for us. In six days, we doubled our race.”
Wahilla admitted it’s a big challenge accommodating the larger field.
“We were rushing around getting more food, more water, we rushed more race shirts overnight, we rushed more medals overnight so everything was just rush rush rush. But I’m excited, I’m happy,” said Wahilla. “There’s a lot of people happy to be running anything since the cancellation of New York.”
Wahilla added that with the inclusion of a bunch of runners who’ve been training for the New York Marathon, he expects some very fast times in the Harrisburg Marathon this weekend. While there won’t be vistas of the famous New York skyline, he says it’s a pretty course.
“There’s large sections that go around City Island, the riverfront running path and even one of the community colleges in the area,” said Wahilla.