Dallas Marathon (@Rundallas) on Instagram

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and organizers of the Dallas Marathon have announced the December tradition wherein thousands of people from around the globe — for reasons ranging from personal improvement, competitiveness and #lifegoals to madness, masochism and myriad other possibilities —  run 26.2 miles through our city’s streets is back on after a year off due to COVID-19. And what’s better? Back just in time for its 50th anniversary.

The BMW Dallas Marathon takes places Dec. 12, and the festival surrounding it — which includes fun runs, fitness expositions and the like — begins Dec. 10.

“This festival has come a long way in its 50 years, Johnson says. In year one, Dallas hosted just 82 marathon runners at White Rock Lake. Since then more than 300,000 runners and walkers have participated in the events. And it’s been growing. This year we are expecting more than 20,000 runners and walkers to get up and take off right here at City Hall Plaza.”

Not into running? For tons of neighbors, supporters and spectators, this is a break-of-dawn party, a reason to dance in the streets and sing and dress in weird costumes and guzzle beer at 9 a.m. You hate the traffic jams it causes? Our advice? Don’t complain; join the party. We will keep you posted on street closures as the dates approach. Generally the course touches all neighborhoods we cover at The Advocate (Lake Highlands, East DallasPreston Hollow) except Oak Cliff — I only know of one year when the race traversed that bridge. (However, anyone training for the marathon should know that the best hill workouts in the city happen in Oak Cliff.)

The event also gives generously to the kids at the Scottish Rite for Children — to the tune of several million dollars in the past decade.

The Dallas Marathon in 2012 rebranded from its original name, The White Rock Marathon.  Ten years ago the organizers told The Advocate the name change was part of an effort to make the December marathon stand apart from Dallas’ other running events and marathons and to turn it into a “world class” signature city attraction. Some people don’t like for things to change, and that was no different — we heard you (see previous link). The course also has changed many times over the years, because making a marathon route that doesn’t piss off the neighborhood residents or the runners themselves is, well, impossible, but they try.

In order to pull off the marathon, planners need the support of many city departments, as well as DART and local churches and businesses. The idea for changing the name came as the organizers and leaders discussed potential course changes with city staffers, said White Rock area resident Marcus Grunewald at the time — he ran his first marathon at White Rock in 1984, and ran another nine times before an injury kept him from running again. Then he became the race’s director/executive director.

Mayor Johnson goes in to say that today people come from more than 40 countries to run the Dallas Marathon. So the effort to create a more distinctive, attractive event seems to have paid off over the past 10 years.

Last year’s was not the first time the Dallas Marathon was canceled. In 2013, icy weather caused extreme disappointment for those who had trained and prepared for the event. And led to empty, frozen streets on the day that should have been filled with excitement.

Marathon weekend also includes a half marathon and a kids race. Everything you need to know will be on the Marathon’s website, Twitter, IG or Facebook page. And we’ll keep you posted here too.


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