The Marathon: By the Numbers

Have you ever wondered what went into planning a marathon? What about the amount of refreshments that need to be ordered or how many police officers are used to keep everyone on course? The logistics are astounding. The course is long. The staff is small. How do we accomplish it all?

We asked a few runners…our marathon ambassadors….and Charlotteans in general, what did they want to know about this city’s main event.  While our staff has never tracked the amount of coffee consumed the first two weeks of November (sorry Adam!) we were able to pull some fun facts for your curious minds.

  • We originally planned to rebrand the marathon from Thunder Road to the Charlotte Marathon in 2017.  But we got a little impatient and it was re-branded this year  to Novant Health Charlotte Marathon but you knew that already (unless you live under a rock)
  • This is year 12 for the marathon in Charlotte.  We know what you are thinking – hasn’t there been a marathon in Charlotte for longer than that?  Yes – but it wasn’t this one!  You’re thinking of the old Observer Marathon – that was different.  Different owners.  Different staff.  Different everything.
  • The course takes you through many of Charlotte’s most popular neighborhoods.  Is one of them yours? LPlaza-Midwood
  • The course will host 28 on-course entertainment spots to distract runners from the actual mileage they are running.  Deets will be posted in another week or so.
  • The marathon is locally owned by 2 men – ones a runner and the other is the business guru – because a successful marathon needs BOTH perspectives.
  • The finisher medal size has increased by over 2” since the first marathon.Web
  • The Morehead Street part of the course (mile 8-9) is famously known as Mt. Morehead even though it’s not an actual mountain.  We like to call it the Mother of all Rolling Hills.
  • Yes, the marathon course is certified by United States Track and Field.
  • The marathon was chosen to be a part of the USA Today Active Alliance – a network of the finest half and full marathons in the United States, only 16 were chosen nationally! Check out why here.
  • Throughout the marathon course, there will be 14 cheer stations cheering on runners and competing for a donation to the charity of their choosing. Read More Here.
  • As of today’s registration numbers, the total number of miles expected to be run on race day is 56,707 miles.  That’s equivalent to running from Maine to Hawaii 11.12 times.
  • 1000+ man hours to set up the course and finish line festival by our staff and team.
  • 350 CMPD police officers will be on course race day.  Don’t worry – they are off duty officers so the rest of the city is still covered!
  • 1,000+ volunteers representing 20+ non-profits.
  • 2,570+ gallons of water will be consumed on race day. That’s almost enough water to fill a 4 foot deep 9ft X 9ft swimming pool!
  • 42 states will be represented at the marathon
  • According to the Cleveland Clinic, a 130 lb runner will burn 2,224 calories during a marathon, a 165 lb runner will burn 2,822 calories and a 210 lb runner will burn 3,593 calories.  Where do you fall?
  • 71 Portable Toilets will be in use on marathon day.  We did not calculate how much waste that equates to, because that’s pretty gross. portojohn1
  • 1.9 metric TONS of medals will be given out on race day.
  • 52 elevation changes on the 26.2 course. Click here for the course, turn by turn and elevation map!
  • Our core staff is made up of just 5 people: a Race Director, Registration Manager, Operations Manager, Communication Manager and Brand Manager.  The ratio of runners to full time staff is 1,100:1. Needless to say we do a LOT of outsourcing!
  • 67 different turns make up the 26.2 course.  You should count those instead of miles on race day – it may make things go faster!
  • 5,500 of bananas.  That’s roughly 2,431,000 mg of potassium.  Welcome to recovery! 26841523-00754-0074
  • 30,000+ photos will be taken during the duration of the race by our photographers at
  • $25,000 donated to Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital
  • 42,303 plastic bottles and 1,745 lbs of recycled cotton will be used to make the participant shirts, courtesy of Recover Brands.
  • A marathoner that runs a 9 minute mile pace and trains for 16 weeks will run roughly 288 miles and spend 43.2 hours running in preparation for race day.  We know, this varies based on your training program, but this is an average meant to give some perspective.  Basically, it’s a big accomplishment before you even get to the start line on race day!


Stay tuned for the next blog from 2016 ambassador, Liz Foster on Cheering on Your Running Friends!