Lubbock prepares for inaugural Mayor's Marathon crowd, closure of Loop 289

Lubbock prepares for inaugural Mayor's Marathon crowd, closure of Loop 289
Lubbock prepares for the Mayor's Marathon (Source: KCBD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's an event proposal by Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope's Fitness Council that caught a lot of people by surprise: a marathon around Lubbock's Loop 289. Now that the daunting task, the Mayor's Marathon, has been planned, the impact to the Hub City is becoming clearer.

Beginning at 5:40 a.m. on April 22 the outside lanes of Loop 289 will be closed to traffic, forcing counter clockwise drivers onto the access roads and through planned detours.

  • Traffic traveling on the northbound east Loop 289 frontage roads will be detoured around the Loop 289 section where no frontage roads exist (between 50th and 19th Streets) using Spur 331 (Southeast Drive), MLK Jr. Boulevard and 19th Street.
  • Westbound north Loop 289 traffic wanting to connect with US 84 will be detoured at I-27 to Avenue Q, then west on Erskine Street to southbound University Avenue and US 84 (Clovis Highway).
  • Commercial vehicles following the Loop 289 hazardous cargo route will need to follow the posted detours.

The Loop will re-open as runners and aid stations are cleared in a counter clockwise motion around the roadway. You can monitor the re-opening using an interactive map on the city's website.

"It might take you a little bit longer on Sunday to get where you are going because there are stop lights," Lubbock Fire & Rescue Chief Lance Phelps said. "I think it will be fine with the public's patience and the fact that we are re-opening the Loop as they go by. The entire loop will not be closed until 2 p.m. That will be the north and northeast portions that will probably be closed that long."

The Lubbock Police Department and Public Works personnel will provide traffic control. LFR and EMS will provide medical support to participants and the public. Since February, Lubbock's Emergency Management team has been working on the communication and coordination plan among the various agencies and departments involved.

"Emergency Management will staff the Emergency Operations Center to provide any logistical support, any support, anything that is needed for all the emergency personnel and people working out in the field including the race event staff," Phelps said.

Because of the size of the event, it will serve as Lubbock's annual drill required by the State of Texas and FEMA. To ensure a fun but safe event, Phelps and Police Chief Greg Stevens urge everyone to say something if you see something. You can sign up for public safety alerts regarding the Marathon by testing "Marathon2018" to 888-777.

"That's the biggest part [the public] can do to help us is be aware, pay attention," Phelps said. "If something doesn't look right or feel right, call us and let us know."

The Mayor's Marathon, sponsored by United Supermarkets, will begin and end at the Berl Huffman Athletic Complex on the N Loop 289 Frontage Rd & Landmark Ln. That's where a Finish Line Festival, including food trucks, vendors, music, inflatables and award ceremonies will be held.

United Supermarkets will welcome "Ultramarathon Man" Dean Karnazes to its 6313 4th St. location for a book signing on Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m. Karnazes was included in TIME magazine's "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World" and is considered one of the fittest men on the planet by Men's Fitness. He will run the entire Mayor's Marathon.

"I'm excited to be a part of Lubbock's first marathon," Karnazes said. "My wife's parents live in Lubbock and I know West Texas is a special place; I look forward to being back in Texas and running The Loop."

According to race organizers, around 1,000 people are expected to participate in the three races taking place. It's expected to bring a boost the the local economy.

"One of the things we found out from Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake is the economic impact can be so wonderful when you reach out past our city," Race Director Marti Greer said. "We have reached out past and the economic impact that this will bring in will be a very, very good number, plenty of hotel rooms, plenty of people eating out, plenty of people shopping. I haven't looked at the exact numbers but at least 50 percent [of participants] come from outside our area."

The most important goal to accomplish is to encourage a more healthy mindset for those witnessing or running the Boston Marathon-qualifying race.

The Mayor's Fitness Council has a mission and goal to support healthy activities and healthy lifestyles in Lubbock," Mayor Dan Pope said. 
"We think this marathon will be a really great way to begin that mission."

To register, volunteer or learn more about the Mayor's Marathon, click here.

Copyright 2018 KCBD. All rights reserved.