Excitement, last-minute preps ahead of Sunday's big race


Raleigh's first ever Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is set to get off the blocks Sunday morning.

With more than 12,000 runners from around the world in Raleigh, downtown is buzzing, and crews are working at a frantic pace to get everything ready for Sunday's big race.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted a big pasta party for some of the runners Saturday evening.

Two hundred and thirty people were invited to load up on carbs in preparation for the big event.

The runners attending the dinner raised more than $200,000 for cancer research.

Outside crews have been working feverishly on Fayetteville Street.

"Everyone's going to be out cheering. It's going to be a huge event for Raleigh and it's a big deal that Raleigh was able to get this race," said Dani Clayton, with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Detours signs are up and roads are closed, and the kick-off to the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is closing in.

There was a final push to ready for the big race Saturday as crews assembled the sound system and put up the finish line.

"I'm excited for the city. A lot of people are here. I hear 60 percent of the runners are from out of town," said Raleigh runner Lynne Carpenter.

"A lot of people are doing a marathon or half marathon for the first time, or those who have time goals or just looking to cross the finish line. But regardless they've already done a lot and for good cause so that's what were most proud of and most excited about," Clayton said.

Mandy Hitchcock, a Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor, was among the runners invited.  

The Carrboro resident has undergone chemotherapy and right now is in remission. She is running the marathon and says she is doing it in honor of the nonprofit that has supported her throughout her fight.

"They're doing it on my behalf and so many other patients who are not as lucky as I am to have a really straight forward treatment," Hitchcock said.

The race kicks off at 7 a.m. Sunday.

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