Albany Marathon & Street Festival Set for the First Weekend in March
Monday, February 23rd, 2015
The 2015 Albany Marathon and Mardi Gras Street Festival are scheduled for Saturday, March 7th. A qualifier for the Boston Marathon, the race attracts runners from around the world. Last year, more than 1,400 runners from 40 different states, Austria, Canada, United Kingdom and Venezuela registered and 1,280 runners finished the race.
"We typically attract around 1,500 racers no matter what the weather. Runners are dedicated – I know I'm one of them. Three years ago we ran with tornado warnings going off," said Kristen Schuette, manager of Marketing and Communications for the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
"The Albany Marathon is one of the smaller races that serve as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, which is appealing to a lot of runners."
The Albany race is ranked as one of the top Boston qualifiers in the country. With more than 20 percent of all marathon finishers qualifying, Albany is one of the nation's fastest marathons. The course is flat and spectator-friendly. Prize money for marathon finishers totals $12,000, including $3,000 first male and female, $2,000 second male and female, $1,000 third male and female.
New this year is a photo booth that will be situated near the race finish line. For $2, people can capture the thrill of completing a marathon on a strip of four photos and receive two copies. Race-related props will be available to use in the photo booth.
The Mardi Gras Street Festival will run from noon until 8:00 p.m. on the day of the race. It will include live music, local arts and crafts, and food vendors and family-friendly activities such as human-size hamster balls and climbing walls.
"The festival provides a great destination after the race for the runners and their families and friends. This year, the festival will end earlier at 8 p.m. rather than midnight to move more of the crowd to the daytime activities," Schuette said.
"The festival is much more weather-dependent than the race. With good weather we could see more than 30,000 attendees."
The Albany Marathon and Mardi Gras Street Festival together produced an economic impact last year of $600,000. Hotels in the area typically sell out for the weekend. Restaurants, retail shops and travel-related service vendors all get a boost from the out-of-town visitors.
More information on the Albany Marathon is available at www.albanymarathon.com.