You can always walk on the sand at Myrtle Beach. You can't always run elbow-to-elbow with thousands of others down the middle of Kings Highway.
That's what's coming up Feb. 19 for the Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon.
And you'll be in greater company: The event, canceled last year because of a snowstorm, will likely host the most runners in the race's 14-year history.
Organizers have set the maximum number of participants for the race at 7,000 - 4,000 in the half-marathon and 3,000 in the full 26.2-mile marathon.
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The half-marathon is sold-out; there were fewer than 300 spots still open for the marathon, according to marathon co-director Shaun Walsh. "If you still want to run the half-marathon, you could still register through one of the event charities - the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of South Carolina, at 803-731-4060, or the Coastal S.C. Chapter of the American Red Cross, 843-602-4928."
The inaugural Charleston marathon held Jan. 15 had nearly 800 full marathoners and more than 1,500 half-marathoners. Some of those runners may have chosen the Charleston marathon over the Myrtle Beach Marathon this year, and cold weather may have other runners holding off on a decision until they see a forecast.
The new marathon course is on and off South Kings Highway earlier in the morning than past years - now consisting of miles 1-6 rather than 9-12.
A kids 1-mile Fun Run and a 5-kilometer race on the eve of the marathon, and a bike ride beginning in Conway the morning after the marathon, will continue to be part of the event. The Kids Run traditionally has 2,000 to 3,000 participants, and the 5K run limit is 1,200. The bike ride start is 9 a.m.
A free runners expo at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is open 5-9 p.m. Feb. 17 and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Feb. 18.
Walsh would like to get back to the race's roots and add more entertainment to the course in the form of musicians, high school bands and cheerleading groups. "We're trying to up the course entertainment value with anything entertaining that makes noise," Walsh said.
As in recent years, the Coastal Carolina University pep band will perform at the starting line and The Necessary Band will play at the finish.