Expo, music highlight additional McAllen Marathon events

This weekend’s McAllen Marathon will feature more runners, a new course and an additional distance.

“We feel confident that we’re constantly improving it, not only the execution but the experience of the runners,” said Carina Jimenez, Marketing and Special Events coordinator at McAllen Parks and Recreation.

A planning committee facilitated changes for the fifth year, which includes a new race and marathon route.

“We’ve evaluated the city and found the highlights of the best areas to run though,” Jimenez said.

McAllen Independent School District mariachi and drumline groups will perform for runners along areas of the race route.

Organizers also added a 10K to the slate of runs which included a 5K, half marathon, full marathon and relay. The 5K and 10K will be held Saturday, while the longer races and relay are Sunday.

Expanding runners’ options was to provide “something for everyone regardless of their skill level,” Jimenez said.

Spectators are invited to find a spot on the route to cheer on runners, or enjoy the finish at the bleachers outside the McAllen Convention Center. A live feed of the finish line will be broadcasted in Oval Park, as well.

L&F Distributors will be providing Michelob Ultras to runners when they finish.

“After they finish their run, they can head past the finish line into the Oval Park area, get their beer and hang out,” Jimenez said.

Saturday morning will feature the final mile of the McAllen Kids Marathon, an initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Kids are also eligible for prizes at the Health and Wellness Expo. Kids can enter to win bikes, skateboards and scooters if they get stamps from participating booths.

There are other giveaways, including the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley providing helmets.

The Expo is open to the public at the McAllen Convention Center Exhibit Hall A from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Runners for the half and full marathons will pick up packets at the event.

Runners of the 5K and 10K must pick up their packets from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at La Quinta Inn & Suites McAllen Convention Center.

“We invited everyone to come out and experience it for themselves,” Jimenez said.