Getting ready for the Twin Cities Marathon? Here's what you need to know

2016 Twin Cities Marathon
Runners run along Summit Avenue in St. Paul during the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 9, 2016.
Caroline Yang for MPR News 2016

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is this Sunday. That means marathoners and fans are lacing up their shoes and getting energized, while non-runners are looking for a way around the route for their regular commute.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, here's what you need to know about the Twin Cities tradition.

The basics

The main event starts at 8 a.m. — with the wheelers race starting five minutes prior — on Portland Avenue South near U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

But it's worth noting the festivities actually start the day before, with a 10K, 5K and a slew of shorter races and family events being held at the State Capitol grounds in St. Paul on Saturday. You can see those routes here.

And then on Sunday, just before the main event, there's a 10-mile run starting at 7 a.m. Check out that route here.

The marathon is a 26.2-mile course, first bringing runners south around Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, then east past Lake Nokomis before bringing participants north again and across the Mississippi River.

The urban and natural mix of the Twin Cities along with the changing leaves of fall have helped earn this event the title of "The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America."

Check out the official route map here.

No matter what day or what race you are running in, you should make your way to the starting line at least 30 minutes before your race is scheduled to start. And if you're in the marathon, you must finish the race in at least 6 hours — roads along the route will reopen at 2:15 p.m. and many race services will close.

Getting to the starting line

2016 Twin Cities Marathon
Runners run along Summit Avenue in St. Paul during the 2016 Twin Cities Marathon.
Caroline Yang for MPR News

There are a few road woes to look out for the day of the marathon, including the closure of Interstate 35W from Interstate 94 to Minnesota Highway 62.

Participants can get free rides to the starting line on the Green and Blue light rail lines from Metro Transit — but you'll need to show your race bib. There will also be free bus rides available at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront from 5 a.m. to 6:45 a.m., the Radisson Plaza from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. and the Best Western Plus Capitol Ridge from 5 a.m. to 6:45 a.m.

If you plan on driving, there will be discounted parking in sections of Union Depot and limited parking at the Sears near the Capitol grounds for $20. It's also worth noting that there's a Vikings game at noon, which will add to the congestion.

Safety

Event organizers suggest you "listen to your body." If you experience chest pain or pressure, or a shortness of breath beyond what you're used to you should stop running. There will be hydration and medical aid stations along the route, and a sweep vehicle will be driving along the route to pick up participants who need to drop out — you won't get a medal, but safety comes first!

Pay attention to how much you're sweating — drinking more water or other drinks faster than you sweat them out can be detrimental to your health.

As for weather, Sunday should start out dry, but will likely turn soggy by the time most runners finish the marathon. It will likely be breezy, with highs in the upper 50s to 60s — so make sure you dress appropriately so you don't overheat or get too cold.

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