The 28th annual Twin Cities Marathon will kick off this weekend, drawing thousands of runners from 20 countries and all 50 states.
The weekend includes Sunday's marathon and 10-mile race, and Saturday's 10K, 5K, and children's events. Both the marathon and the 10K race are full, with 11,580 and 6,500 runners, respectively.
This year's events also feature the first 'walker's division,' designed to make the race more accessible to non-runners.
Top runners include the 2008 Olympic Trials champion Anthony Famiglietti, of Knoxville, Tennessee, course record-holder Abdi Abdirahman, of Tucson, Arizona, and two-time Olympian Elva Dryer, of Gunnison, Colorado.
"It's a really good field," said Virginia Brophy Achman, executive director of Twin Cities Marathon, Inc., the organization that runs the events. "It'll be fun to watch."
Meteorologists have predicted temperatures in the 50s for Saturday and Sunday, with a chance of scattered showers on Saturday.
Event organizers said they would only cancel the races in the event of lightning or extreme heat.
Achman said the cooler temperatures could help runners hit record times. "We're looking forward to a quick day on Sunday," she said.
The marathon is the only opportunity this year to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Team Trials. Participants can also use their times to qualify for the popular Boston Marathon.
The 26.2 mile race starts at 8 a.m. the Metrodome and goes along Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, before heading though Minnehaha Parkway and crossing into St. Paul. The marathon ends at the State Capitol.
Registration remains open for Saturday's 5K, 10K, and children's events.