Sunday morning's second annual Super Run 4 Miler in Charlotte is enjoying a participation boost, thanks to the home team being in the Super Bowl.
Race director Justin Ratike said Saturday a few hundred people registered over the last two weeks in the lead-up to the big Panthers-Broncos game. Saturday afternoon’s registration count of 1,600-1,700 tops last year's participation of nearly 1,200.
“Obviously, the buzz is crazy,” Ratike said. “Everybody is wearing Panthers gear. There couldn't be a better way to kick off the day, pun intended.”
In a nod to the game, the race features a four-mile run (for four downs) and a 100-yard dash (for the length of the football field.) It starts and finishes on Mint Street, outside the east gate of Bank of America Stadium.
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Participants claim a favorite team at registration, and an online tally shows the Carolina Panthers smashing the count with 1,020 fans. The Denver Broncos had 15 registered.
Football-themed swag includes miniature footballs for kids and football-shaped finisher medals. RunningWorks - a Charlotte-based nonprofit program designed to help the homeless regain self-worth through running - is the race beneficiary.
With all those participants, volunteers and supporters, Ratike expects up to 2,000 people.
So right after the national anthem, he'll rally everyone to do Cam's signature touchdown move: “We're going for the biggest dab photo.”