BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Thousands of runners will hit the streets of the Capital City this weekend for the 6th Annual Louisiana Marathon series.
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All the long days, weeks, and months of training will be put to the test during a series of races that make up The Louisiana Marathon. An estimated 8,500 runners of all ages will take off from the foot of the State Capitol beginning Saturday.
One of them is Theresa Fontaine, a Denham Springs native who now lives in Phoenix, AZ. She will be running the Quarter Marathon with her dad on Saturday.
"It's a special place, and I wanted to come back and support the area after the flood," Theresa Fontaine said.
Every runner has their own reason.
Expo and Retail Director Pat Fellows said he makes it a point to meet as many as he can. He said he has enjoyed watching the event grow into a spectator sport as well.
"Over the years it's turned into marathon week for us so that if the course passes your house you are out front cheering for people. If you're in a restaurant and you see people who look like runners, the people are very welcoming," Fellows said.
Part of making sure the five races run smoothly is the law enforcement security on the routes. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. L'Jean McKneely said hundreds of officers from several agencies study the courses for security reasons and to make sure drivers navigate it safely.
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"There will be gaps between the runners so cars will still be able to pass those particular areas, but we are allowing those people in those particular areas to be patient with us and the runners," McKneely said.
The rolling road closures will take place downtown and the Hundred Oaks neighborhood for Saturday's races, and near the LSU Lakes, Hundred Oaks, and downtown Baton Rouge for the Half and Full Marathons on Sunday.
Event organizers expect the party will move from the streets to the festival grounds at the finish by mid-afternoon.
Click here for a detailed list of road closures and a schedule of marathon weekend events.