March still is a time for marathon madness in North Carolina in an expanded state schedule that makes Wake County the state’s marathon leader.
Of the 30 marathons in the state this year, 10 are in March and six are in Wake County.
You now have four February options with the addition of the Feb. 18 Run Oak Island Marathon. It is an addition to a 5K and half-marathon that ran for the first time last February. The Oak Island race also gives you five coastal races, which usually mean a flat course.
Even with the Ellerbe Marathon shifting from March 12 to Feb. 25, two other marathons moved from April to March to increase the number of March marathons in the state by one, with another moving to the first Sunday in April.
The All-American Marathon, a point-to-point race from Fayetteville to Fort Bragg, shifts up a week from April 3 last year to March 25 and the Emerald Isle Marathon, which had its inaugural run April 9 last year, is set for March 25. Another coastal marathon, the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, runs the same day. The other two coastal options are in the fall: the Oct. 15 Carolina Beach Marathon and the Nov. 12 Outer Banks Marathon.
The crowded list of March choices includes the Umstead Trail Marathon on the 4th (which already is sold out), and the Asheville Marathon and the Northern Trails Marathon, both on the 12th.
A Charlotte race — the New South Trail Marathon — wasn’t on our 2016 list before its inaugural race last March. This year’s race is March 25.
A free Uwharrie marathon, the URE Marathon, will be conducted for the first time on March 11 near Mount Gilead.
Cary’s Tobacco Road Marathon shifts a week later this year to March 19, thus avoiding being run right after Daylight Saving Time starts.
Another big shift comes with the Rock ’n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon moving a week earlier to April 2, which also is Final Four weekend. This moves it further away from the Palm Sunday date that caused angst in 2014.
WRAL will no longer be the presenting sponsor for RnR Raleigh, but only because the series has eliminated that position. Instead, WRAL will be the event’s media sponsor.
The V Foundation ended its association with RnR Raleigh, a for-profit race run by Competitor Group Inc. out of San Diego, and instead will have a fundraising collaboration with the nonprofit Tobacco Road Marathon.
For the second consecutive year, Tobacco Road had the most marathon finishers in the state, just beating out RnR Raleigh 975–963. Next were two November races: the Charlotte Marathon (in its first year since it was rebranded from previously being called the Thunder Road Marathon) with 841 finishers, followed by the Outer Banks Marathon with 680.
The return for the first time since 2013 of the Too Slow for Boston Marathon on April 16 in Holly Springs gives Wake County a state-high six marathons. The next-most is four in Guilford County. The B. Marathon Series runs the low-key event, which features 25 loops of a course entirely at Parrish Womble Park.
In addition to that Holly Springs race, Tobacco Road, Rock ’n’ Roll Raleigh and Umstead, other Wake County marathons are the Cary Firehouse Tour Marathon in October and the Raleigh City of Oaks in November.
The first state marathon of the year was scheduled for Saturday with the South Mountain Marathon in Connelly-Springs. The wintry weather forced the race to be postponed until March 4, giving North Carolina 10 March marathons this year.
There could be a 31st marathon in the state run the last day of the year: The Drop Zone Marathon in Hoffman. The race was run for the third time Dec. 31, and race director Douglas Dawkins said that the race probably would be run again.
2017 North Carolina marathons
Here are the 2017 state marathons, including date, location if not part of the name, how many years this will be for the race and how many marathoners finished last year. (* — denotes that there also is a half-marathon)
12 — (Valentine’s Day) Massacre Marathon (Greensboro), 12th running, 15 solo finishers not in relays
18 — * Run Oak Island Marathon, inaugural
25 — Black Mountain Marathon, 18th running, 366 finishers
25 — * Ellerbe Marathon (Ellerbe), 26th running, 77 finishers
4 — Umstead Trail Marathon (Raleigh), 13th running, 173 finishers (already full)
4 — * South Mountain Marathon (Connelly-Springs), 2nd running, 43 finishers (wintry weather forced the race to be postponed from the original race date of Jan. 7)
11 — URE Marathon (Mount Gilead), inaugural
12 — * Asheville Marathon, 5th running, 500 finishers
12 — Northern Trails Marathon (Summerfield), 3rd running, 40 finishers
19 — * Tobacco Road Marathon (Cary), 8th running, 975 finishers
25 — * New South Trail Marathon (Charlotte), 2nd running, 56 finishers
25 — * Wrightsville Beach Marathon, 8th running, 553 finishers
25 — * Emerald Isle Marathon, 2nd running, 171 finishers
26 — * All-American Marathon (Fayetteville to Fort Bragg), 4th running, 612 finishers
2 — * Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon, 4th running, 963 finishers
16 — Too Slow for Boston Marathon (Holly Springs), 5th running, 17 finishers when it last was run in 2013
6 — New River Marathon (Todd, near Boone), 6th running, 179 finishers
21 — Indoor Insanity Marathon (Winston-Salem), 5th running, 20 solo finishers not in relays
10 — Boogie Marathon (Ellerbe), 12th running, 32 finishers
8 — Grandfather Mountain Marathon (Boone to Linville), 49th running, 292 finishers
10 — Mainly Marathons Appalachian Series (Fletcher), 4th running, 43 finishers
14 — * Cannonball Marathon (Greensboro), 2nd running, 325 finishers
15 — * Carolina Beach Marathon, 2nd running
21 — Medoc Trail Marathon (Hollister), 10th running, 148 finishers
22 (tentative) — Cary Fire House Tour Marathon, 2nd running, 60 finishers
21 — * Triple Lakes Trail Marathon (Greensboro), 12th running, 59 finishers
28 (tentative) — Peak to Creek Marathon (Jonas Ridge to Collettsville), 11th running, 292 finishers
5 — * Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon, 11th running, 509 finishers
11 — * Charlotte Marathon, 13th running, 841 finishers
12 — * Outer Banks Marathon (Kitty Hawk to Manteo), 12th running, 680 finishers