Runners aren’t racing to register for the still-popular Lincoln Marathon like they have in past years. So if you’re mulling over this year’s running schedule, that means there’s still time to sign up.
The race, set for May 5, is about half-full, with more than 6,500 runners registered. Registration opened Jan. 5. The race is capped at 13,500 runners.
At this point last year, the race had registered about 8,800 runners, and ended up shy of a sellout with about 12,800 runners.
Prior to that, the race — now in its 42nd year — had sold out since 2008, sometimes within a day.
Race director Nancy Sutton attributes the slow start to runners choosing between more events.
“There are so many races happening in Omaha and the surrounding areas,” Sutton said. “We battle that a lot. I still believe we are the premier running event in the Midwest for the spring. We just need to get that out there to people.”
Organizers held registration events in Lincoln and Omaha last weekend to give sign-ups a boost, Sutton said. Organizers are continuing to brainstorm ways to ramp up registration for this year’s event.
About 5,700 runners are signed up for the half-marathon and about 850 are signed up for the full marathon, Sutton said.
The first 13,000 spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The remaining spots will be awarded through an online lottery, if necessary.
The races start on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and end on the 50-yard line inside Memorial Stadium. The event is a Boston Marathon qualifier.
The cost to run the full marathon is $80. The half-marathon is $60.
The Lincoln race is one of the largest half- and full marathons in the area.
Among Nebraska’s other popular endurance races is the Good Life Halfsy, another Lincoln race. It saw 6,500 runners last fall.
The Omaha Marathon drew about 1,700 runners last year, down from about 4,000 runners who finished in 2013 when New York-based HITS Endurance first organized the event. The Nebraska Marathon drew about 1,200 runners in its fourth year, and the Heartland Marathon drew about 700. Those three Omaha events typically fall within about six weeks of each other.