Myrtle Beach Marathon president keeping close eye on winter storm

Myrtle Beach Marathon organizers are keeping their fingers crossed this week's winter storm won't have much of an impact on the race, especially considering what happened four years ago.

Remember marathon weekend 2010?

Marathon president Shaun Walsh certainly does.

"It was extremely stressful," Walsh remembers.

That year, Walsh and city officials had to make the difficult decision to cancel the race ( because of snow.

But he says they've learned a few things over the years, like making sure to get an early start on set-up, so when weather like this week's winter storm arrives, they have more days to work with.

"We've got some leeway in there, but it's still a huge undertaking to put all the tents up, staging up, get the water delivered and so forth."

Walsh says tent crews have now arrived from Pittsburgh, but they can't put up their tents, because ice would damage them.

Then, there's race attendance to worry about. Registration for this year's marathon is running about ten percent above last year.

More than 10,000 runners are expected, but there's no guarantee all of them will get here.

"For those folks maybe coming out of the Northeast or Ohio and that area, their travel plans may be disrupted in terms of icy roads and so forth, and maybe flight cancellations," Walsh said.

Walsh says organizers will make contingencies for late arrivals.

Weather may be less of an issue in a couple of years, when the race expo will move to the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, now under construction, and the race dates may change.

"Hopefully, we'll eventually get out of February and back into March where the weather might be a little less volatile than we've experienced in the last, really, five years."

At this point, Walsh says set-up for Saturday's race is running only a few hours behind.

As for attendance, he says runners are resilient people, committed to running, so hopefully the storm won't keep too many of them away.