New Orleans — The streets of downtown Raleigh will be flooded with runners April 13 for the city's first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. More than 12,000 are entered to run in the full and half marathons that day, but there are weekend events for all fitness levels.
The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is making its Raleigh debut, but other cities offer a glimpse of what the region can expect.
When the marathon made a stop on New Orleans earlier this spring, thousands visited the two-day health and fitness expo that preceded the race. Raleigh's expo is scheduled for Friday, April 11, from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center.
"It's just a fun way for runners to get really excited for the weekend," said marathon spokeswoman Allison Humbert.
The expo is open to the public, and vendors and clinics show off the latest and greatest running products and services.
"It's almost like a pop-up running store on steroids," said Jessie Sebor of Women's Running magazine.
In New Orleans, Sebor hosted a talk about how to juggle parenting with running.
She said the expo is a great way for runners to learn from each other.
"The expo is absolutely where the running community comes together," she said.
And it is a great way to grow that community.
"Even if someone isn't racing and is just curious about getting involved in running, it's a great introduction to the sport," she said.
At the Raleigh expo, leading runners from the Triangle will visit with shoppers and give advice about having a good race.
"The energy is really positive," Sebor said.
Marathon, bands to take over Raleigh streets
The Rock 'n' Roll marathon and 1/2 marathon courses begin and end in the heart of downtown Raleigh, and both head east to Chavis Park. Runners of the full 26.2 mile distance then head west on Hillsborough Street and past PNC Arena before circling back to the start/finish line.
Along the way, dozens of bands will play live music to keep the energy up.