We are less than nine hours away from the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, an event to honor those lost in the federal building bombing 18 years ago.
Downtown OKC is expected to be packed with tens of thousands of runners and spectators. Festivities for the Memorial Marathon kick off as early as 4:30 a.m. Sunday. So in light of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, there are some things to keep in mind before runners take their mark.
Every year, on the night before the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, many runners meet at First Church downtown for the Blessing of the Shoes. Laying sneakers on the altar for prayer is just one way runners prep for the big race.
Runners are only asked to bring a clear drawstring bag, and spectators are asked not bring backpacks or large bags. You can park for the race in many lots downtown near the Memorial for free, including Cox Convention Center. And expect it to be packed with more than 24,000 runners signed up.
"We're all going to run tomorrow, and not only in honor of the victims in Boston, but the 168 that died here in Oklahoma City," said runner, Talbot Cox.
Oklahoma City Police say to runners and spectators should treat Sunday's race like a trip to the airport, because there will be more officers at the marathon this year than ever before. And that increased security is reassuring to runners.
"I was getting a little scared to be honest with you, just having the doubts if this could happen again. But you know you can't let something like that scare you for the rest of your life, you know you just need to do what you've been training for," said runner, Jennifer Howland.
The Welcome for the Marathon starts at 6 a.m. And don't forget if you're planning on coming down to see the race, Sunday is also the last day for the Art Festival, which starts at 9 a.m. and is also downtown.
You can watch live coverage of the marathon Sunday, right here on News 9, starting at 6 a.m.