The first Surrey International World Music Marathon isn't until the weekend of Sept. 30, but the excitement for it kicks off a few days earlier with a kids run through Holland Park.
Children in Grades 3 through 7 from local elementary schools will stampede through Surrey on Thursday, Sept. 27. Schools will arrive around noon and the runs - staggered in heats by grade and gender - start at 12:30 p.m.
"We're going to have about 3,000 kids in the Surrey school run participating on Thursday at Holland Park," said John Donnelly of Donnelly & Associates, the group in charge of organization.
Like the full marathon that weekend, the school run will have world music bands set up along the course. The race combines athleticism with multicultural musical acts representing such countries as Jamaica, China, India, Germany and Guinea.
It's like a footrace crossed with the Fusion Festival - and coincidentally, Donnelly was one of the fest's organizers.
It's a challenge to host live bands along the route - with their instruments powered by onsite generators - but Donnelly said the plan is coming together.
"In the States, there's a series called the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon where they have a rock band play every mile," he said. "With the Surrey Marathon, if we have each mile be sponsored by a different cultural group, then we can really make it a unique and distinctive race for the City of Surrey."
The Surrey International Marathon Society, the non-profit group handling the funding, is looking into how to distribute the money raised after it covers the cost of putting on the event.
The 21-kilometre track (those competing in the full marathon run it twice) starts at Central City and runs along such roads as 108th Avenue, Old Yale Road, 134th Street, 88th Avenue, 144th Street, Fraser Highway and City Parkway. There will be some road closures from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. the day of the race, with closure signs already posted in the affected areas.
"We recognize that any marathon in any city inconveniences traffic to a certain degree, but we think for the greater good of the city and promoting health and wellness within the community, it's definitely a good thing," he said, noting that registration is open now and throughout the day of the marathon.
The full marathon starts at 7:30 a.m., with the half marathon leaving the starting line at 8 a.m. Mayor Dianne Watts' five-kilometre run begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by a one-kilometre Kids Fun Run at 11 a.m.
For more information, visit surreymarathon.com.
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