Twin Cities Marathon 2018: Everything you need to know

Spectators play as marathon runners pass on Sunday along Summit Avenue.
Onlookers kick around a soccer ball alongside runners in 2017.
Ellen Schmidt | MPR News

After months of training and planning, runners will take their mark Sunday morning in downtown Minneapolis for the 2018 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

The 26.2-mile course, which starts at S. Sixth Street and west of Portland Avenue, takes runners around Minneapolis' chain of lakes and across the Mississippi River into St. Paul before they cross the finish line in front of the state Capitol.

Whether you are running or watching, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind.

Runners gather to start the race.
Runners wait to start the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News

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Just the facts

The race starts at 8 a.m., with the winner likely crossing the finish line in just over two hours. The female course record of 2:26:51 was set in 2001 and tied in 2004. The male course record of 2:08:51 was set in 2016.

The finish line is on MLK Boulevard near the Minnesota state Capitol.

A series of shorter races will take place on Saturday, along with the TC 10 Mile race that starts at 7 a.m. Sunday and also travels from Minneapolis to St. Paul.

Not a runner but want to have some weekend fun? There's a health and fitness expo that is free and open to the public.

There are also lots of family events Saturday.

Traffic woes and parking places

Plan ahead, as traffic will be snarled along the route and parking will be a challenge.

Check here for road closures before you head out.

Metro Transit light rail trains will operate on a normal schedule. Pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists must cross only at designated crossings. It is illegal to cross the tracks in unmarked areas.

Metro Transit light rail is free Saturday and Sunday to runners who show their bib. Others can buy an unlimited ride visitor pass for $4. It can be used on buses and light rail.

Of note this year if you plan to park in St. Paul: westbound Kellogg Boulevard in front of the RiverCentre main entrance may be closed for construction, with portions of the RiverCentre parking ramp closed for repairs.

Union Depot will offer discounted parking in Lot C East for $2 between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. and in Lots B and C for $4.

Assume the streets on the route will either be closed or congested. Assume the same of the side streets around the course.

Spectator etiquette

Spectators wait at the finish line.
Spectators in 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Watching the marathon and cheering on the runners is a sport in and of itself. But there are some rules of the road on the sidelines, too.

The race folks offer the following tips:

• Spectators are not allowed on the course or the finish line for everyone's safety.

• Don't throw your trash on the street. There are hundreds of garbage cans. Use them.

• Motor vehicles are not allowed on the course. Cross only at designated intersections.

• Bicyclists must stay off the course and should keep an eye out for spectators.

• Animals should be kept on a 6-foot or shorter leash and kept away from participants. Owners should clean up after their pets.

• Watch children at all times. There will be thousands of participants and spectators at the events and it can be easy to get separated.

• Lost & Found/Lost People and Items is located near the finish line. Look for one of the volunteers in the "Info: Find Me, Ask Me tent."

• See something, say something. If you see something that doesn't seem right, seek out security and let them know.

Rebecca Eilers readies water cups for passing runners on Sunday.
A volunteer pours water for marathon runners in 2017.
Ellen Schmidt | MPR News

• Don't get offended: Backpacks, purses and other items are subject to search.

• Do offer positive and supportive cheers. Cowbells, whistles and other noise-making devices are encouraged.

Security and emergency

There are 14 fluid stations at various points on the route.

Medical support and a medical station are at the finish line. Medical personnel will be wearing orange vests.

The people in yellow shirts or reflective yellow vests have phones and can call emergency personnel.

Runners ditch their water cups.
Runners ditch their cups after a water stop in 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Uniformed police officers are on the route.

There are more than 4,000 volunteers who can also help.

In an emergency, call 911.

There's an app for that

Parking: Park Whiz lets you reserve parking in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

A woman uses a poncho to stay dry.
A woman in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Track your runner by downloading the Twin Cities In Motion App. Search for "Twin Cities In Motion" in your app store.

Other ways to follow the race

KARE 11 will live stream all six hours of the finish line.

You can follow along on Twitter @tcmarathon or by using #tcmarathon.