TO: ALL RUNNERS
The Soldier Marathon team of volunteers has been busy planning the 2016 Soldier Marathon and is excited about seeing you at the Race. Our registration numbers are strong once again and again we have a stellar lineup of sponsors. Your participation as a runner with the sponsors’ support allows the Soldier Marathon to fulfill its mission of saluting our soldiers and giving runners a great experience.
We are pleased that the National Infantry Museum will be the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Soldier Marathon. The National Infantry Museum is the venue for our Race and we are especially proud that the National Infantry Museum has recently been selected in a USA Today survey as the number one free public museum in America. In addition, Trip Advisor reports the National Infantry Museum as the top rated destination in Georgia.
We are pleased the W.C. Bradley Company and TSYS are the sponsors of the Soldier Half Marathon and that USAA is the sponsor of the Soldier 5K Race. We are also pleased the Columbus Cottonmouths Hockey Team is the sponsor of the Soldier Kids Marathon.
Our Race day is Saturday, November 12, 2016. The start of the Race is 8:00 a.m. for the Marathon and Half Marathon. The Soldier 5K Race will start at 8:15 a.m. All Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K runners will queue up together at the start line on Heritage Walk (the Avenue of Flags) at the National Infantry Museum, with the Marathon and Half Marathon runners lining up towards the band stand near the parade field behind the start line and the 5K runners queuing up towards the Infantry Village behind the start line.
On Friday, November 11, 2016, registration begins at 11:00 a.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. our Kids One Mile Fun Run completes the Soldier Kids Marathon. Our pasta dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. It’s a wonderful meal prepared by Valley Hospitality for the National Infantry Museum and is well worth the cost of the meal.
A new feature for the 2016 Soldier Marathon is the Memorial Mile presented by Mercedes Benz. The Mercedes Memorial Mile will be lined with 150 American flags between Mile 9 and Mile 10 along Water Works Road on the course. This display of American flags will be very dramatic and patriotic.
Our Fallen Hero Program will be presented this year by CB&T Bank and will be incorporated into the Memorial Mile. Runners will have the opportunity to run in honor of a fallen hero. Over 330 soldiers from Georgia and Alabama have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country since 2001. The Soldier Marathon says “You Are Not Forgotten” to these fallen heroes. The names and photos of these fallen soldiers will be on boards at registration and at the beginning of the Memorial Mile to remind us of their service and great sacrifice on our behalf.
The first 7 miles of both the Soldier Marathon and the Half Marathon course will be on Ft. Benning, Georgia the same route as last year. Most of the rest of the course is on the Riverwalk. The Half Marathon runners will turn at Mile 10 (the Water Works facility) to return to the National Infantry Museum. The Marathon runners will continue on the Riverwalk to Uptown Columbus and the TSYS building where they will run across the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge into Phenix City, Alabama. Runners will run on the Phenix City Riverwalk for half a mile before they will turn around and return over the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge to the Columbus Riverwalk and to the National Infantry Museum.
With safety of the runners being so important to all of us, we decided the Riverwalk is not wide enough on the full Marathon course to allow both runners and hand crank participants. The same safety concern does not exist for the Half Marathon course since it is a loop course and hand crank participants are welcomed on the Soldier Half Marathon course.
We have also reviewed security measures for our Solder Marathon Races with our local law enforcement and emergency services. The Ft. Benning Military Police, Columbus Police Department and Phenix City Police Department have assured us the necessary precautions will be taken to provide for the safety and security of our runners at the National Infantry Museum and along the Race course. We also will have medical services available at the start/finish line and along the course. Please be prepared for bag searches and screening. We will provide you a clear plastic bag in which to place your dry clothes for Race day so that you will not have to bring your own bag to the Race. Backpacks and personal bags will not be permitted to be stored during the race in the dry clothes storage area. Also, pets are not permitted at the Race site, even on lease, so please do not bring your pets to the Race. We also will provide you a wrist band to wear once you’ve cleared the security check point. We are asking all runners and spectators to wear these wrist bands to let us know that you’ve cleared a security check.
Parking on Race day will be in several locations around the National Infantry Museum. The parking lot of the National Infantry Museum will be filled with cars from the Ft. Benning Road entrance. The Ft. Benning Road gate will be closed at 7:15 a.m. and cars will be routed to South Lumpkin Road via Torch Hill Road. Cars entering on South Lumpkin Road will park in the Dog Park parking lot, Oxbow Meadows and along South Lumpkin Road. Our team of volunteers will be directing the parking. Once the Dog Park and Oxbow Meadows parking lots are full, the cars will be directed down South Lumpkin Road to the end of South Lumpkin Road where they will turn around and then drive back towards the Museum to park on the right hand side of the road. Those cars that wish only to drop off a runner and not park will be allowed to turn around inside the Museum parking lot near the Hampton Inn Hotel where they can drop off a runner and then exit back out South Lumpkin Road. The National Infantry Museum parking lot is usually full by 7:15 a.m. and we urge runners to arrive as early as possible to prevent parking delays.
We are looking forward to an exciting 2016 Soldier Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K Races. We thank you for choosing our Race. We hope your training goes well and that the Soldier Marathon will be a meaningful experience where you reach your goals and aspirations.
My very best wishes,