By Kristen Durand

The stretch of Highway 90 between Pass Christian and Biloxi will be run over by people rather than cars in less than three months.
As News 25’s Kristen Durand show us, as South Mississippi prepares for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, this inaugural event is already gaining momentum across the nation.

Gavin Carter likes running so much that he works in an athletic store in Ocean Springs. On December 9th through 11th, he’ll be one of thousands of people lacing up their shoes for the first ever Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon. “I typically do about 20 to 30 miles a week, but prepping for a half marathon, I’ve upped my miles to about 30 to 40 miles a week. Just being able to complete the half marathon is definitely a goal of mine,” said Carter.

Marathon organizers have been making strides as well, finishing up measurements for the course, getting together a shuttle plan and finalizing plans for the kid race.
On Thursday, they kicked off the fall training session with a running social at Leo’s Wood Fired Pizza in Ocean Springs, firing up the community to get their running shoes on. Event Director Patrick Fellows said, “We’ve got a lot of pieces in play that are really working out well. The communities have been really super supportive from everything from the mayors, the police, local businesses, everybody is super fired up to have us and we’re fired up to be here.”

Marathon officials say the response has been overwhelming so far with about 1,500 people signed up from 33 different states, all vying for a medal. Race Director Jonathan Dziuba said, “We’re way ahead of where we projected to be based on the trends that we’re seeing from a registration standpoint. We’re expecting the total number of registrants to be much higher than what we’re thinking it’s going to be and that is, I think a large part due to the very warm welcome we’ve been getting from everyone down on the Coast.”

As for Gavin, he’s looking forward to running his first half marathon at this year’s event, eventually working his way up to the full marathon and the end goal landing him a spot to run in the Boston Marathon. “Definitely in 2019. It’s going to be run on my birthday, so that’s definitely something to shoot for.”

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