Think the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon isn’t for you? Make it yours in 2017.

There’s a common misconception that just because the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon includes our city’s only marathon, the experience is reserved for serious, long-distance runners. But that’s not true! (Yep, we’re talking to YOU if you just thought to yourself, “but I’m not a runner…”)

This year, we want to spread the word that the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon isn’t just an elite race, but a Running Festival with races and activities for all ages and abilities.

It’s about so much more than just running! This event brings us together and inspires us to do something that maybe we weren’t sure we could do – whether it’s running a 5K for the first time, committing to training for a half-marathon with a friend, keeping up with our kids, or proving to ourselves that we are runners. If you take a closer look, we think you’ll discover that there is something for EVERYONE (even you “non-runners”) at the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Running Festival. Need more convincing?

Here’s what you’ll experience before, during and after race day:

THE GROUP EVENTS & TRAINING

In the spring, we select a handful of diverse runners from around the area to serve as our Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Running Festival ambassadors. We all need that someone who says, “Let’s do it!” instead of “You’re crazy!” to push us to be the best, healthiest versions of ourselves. Our ambassadors bring out this type of community by connecting runners to train together and support each other.

You might think that our ambassadors are super fit, local running celebrities – and there are a couple of those – but most of them are just people who love to be active, even if they don’t run as fast (or as often) as they’d like to. Let’s face it, we could all use a little help getting started and staying motivated, so the added accountability of training together is awesome (and you’ll make a few new friends in the process).

THE COURSE PREVIEW RUNS

If you’re ready to take on the longer distances, we offer two chances in October to run the course, see what it’s like and meet other runners from the area. One weekend we preview the first 13.1 miles and then the following weekend we run the second 13.1 miles. By race day, you’ll feel more confident knowing the course and some fellow runners.

THE EXPO

The weekend begins on Friday, November 10 (the day before race day) with the Health & Wellness Expo, which is free and open to anyone. It’s 40,000 square feet of runners, vendors, volunteers and supporters that share one common purpose: to get you ready for your race. Grab your race packet, check out the latest running shoes and gear, catch up with your friends and capture some memories at the start of your race weekend.

THE RACES

We offer FIVE different races, including the marathon (26.2 miles), the half marathon (13.1 miles), the five-person marathon relay, the 5K (3.1 miles), a Kid’s Marathon Program and 1-mile run. So there really is a race distance that’s achievable for everyone.

We often see families, co-workers, exercise buddies, and groups of friends come out together to run the relay or just enjoy the experience together, even if they’re each running different races.

Whichever race you choose, you’ll be treated to a true marathon experience – our on-course entertainment, volunteers and supporters are top-notch! The best part? All finishers, of all races, get a finisher’s medal to commemorate the achievement.

 THE POST-RACE FESTIVAL

Whether you run the 5K or the marathon, everyone crosses the same finish line and celebrates together at the citywide festival in Romare Bearden Park, with exhibitors, food, beverages and live music on the main stage. Beer tastes amazing after a race!

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 THE AFTER-PARTY

The next day, the celebration continues at the Run for Your Life store. Join us to revel in your accomplishments with refreshments, massages, medal engraving and more!

There’s something special about living in a city where we celebrate one another, cheer loudly and find any excuse to gather together for a good time. That’s what’s so special about the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Running Festival – it’s a citywide celebration.

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Ready to make the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Running Festival yours? Pick your distance and sign up today!