COMMERCE – Downtown Commerce will be the starting point for the 26-mile Mother Road Marathon, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 1.

In addition to the full 26-mile marathon, there also will be a 13-mile half marathon and 5k runs.

All events start simultaneously at 7 a.m.

The full marathon starts on Commerce Avenue, moves north along Mickey Mantle Blvd. and follows Route 66 through Quapaw, on into Kansas and concludes at the Joplin Athletic Complex, located at 3301 West First Street.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring folks to Commerce that otherwise might not come on their own,” Commerce mayor Michael Hart said. “We are excited to start the marathon right here on Commerce Avenue and look forward to showing the participants our small town hospitality.”

The 13.1-mile half-marathon starts in front of Baxter Springs High School.

A 5K run starts and finishes at the Joplin Athletic Complex.

The two longer runs also conclude at the Joplin Sports Complex.

This is the only marathon along Route 66 that runs through three states and follows “The Mother Road.”

It’s also a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

It will be the only full marathon in the immediate area, according to race director Tom Rogers of Joplin-based Twelveone Group, an event consulting, marketing and management firm.

“Joplin Memorial has had a marathon the last two years, but they just announced that they will not have a full marathon for the 2018 event,” Rogers said. “So that leaves us as the primary marathon product for the area now for 2018 and beyond.”

The predecessor to the MRM was held in 2010 and operated through 2014 by the City of Joplin. The city council voted to end the event due to declining participation.

Twelveone was approached in 2016 about taking over the event for a comeback in 2017.

“We have grown it back to its second largest registration for 2017 and will easily break records in 2018,” Rogers said.

More than 1,000 runners are expected for Sunday’s event, according to Rogers.

“We changed the course up,” Rogers said. “In years past, it started at the Field of Dreams in Baxter and we moved the half start to the high school for a variety of reasons. Logistically it just makes a lot more sense.”

Rogers said the full marathon will follow about 85 percent of Route 66.

Near perfect running weather is expected.

“Rain chances are slim and it will be low humidity,” Rogers said.

The entry fee is $40 for the 5K, $80 for the half marathon and $110 three-state marathon.

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