Course Changed for Palm Sunday Marathon

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Palm Sunday churchgoers will still see the effects of the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon, but organizers have altered the route to lessen the blow.

Raleigh City Councilors Tuesday approved changes to the course, which was originally approved in October.

The race and the course in particular have been a sore spot for residents who are concerned that the road closures would cause problems for people trying to get to church services on the day of the race, scheduled for April 13.

“I wish it wasn’t on Palm Sunday,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said after the meeting, adding that in the inaugural year there are going to be mistakes.

Competitor Group Vice President Alan Culpepper told the Record the changes are a result of numerous conversations with church leaders.

The changes won’t make the race nonexistent, but will allow more access points for parishioners.

Along with changes to the route itself, lanes will be opened as runners pass. Police officers will also monitor the race and direct traffic through the course when there are safe gaps in passing runners.


Culpepper said the organizers will continue to inform church leaders and congregants of changes.

Councilor Thomas Crowder, back from a long break due to health issues, questioned the process by which Competitor Group will place bands along the route.

Culpepper said they are working with private property owners to find locations. He said organizers will place bands appropriately throughout the course so that residents and businesses are the least impacted.

They won’t put a KISS cover band near a residential neighborhood, he said, but they might put an acoustic set.

Residents near the affected areas will have a direct number they can call on the day of the race if there are problems.

While the location of the bands does not need Council approval, Culpepper said that once those locations are finalized, Competitor Group can bring them back to the Council.

Culpepper told the Record that neighborhood outreach through community meetings will begin three months before the race. The outreach will intensify as the race gets closer.

Residents and business owners should expect to see door hangers and advertisements on WRAL, he said.

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