Organizers say race won't be disruptive 21st Annapolis Run will cover 10 miles of the city's streets

August 23, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Organizers of the 21st annual Annapolis Run are hoping their hard work pays off Sunday morning and that residents and motorists won't even notice the 10,000 or so extra people on the streets.

About 4,000 runners, their friends and families, and race volunteers are expected to converge on Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the start and finish of the 10-mile race.

But the sheer volume of people and their cars isn't worrying the race director.

"I expect a few cars here and there that will be inconvenienced," said Richard L. Hillman, a former mayor of Annapolis. "But not many."

Hillman is confident because of race organizers' yearlong preparations to ensure a traffic-free event. An electronic billboard warning drivers to avoid the race route was posted this week on eastbound Rowe Boulevard.

Area churches were sent letters asking them to inform their members of the race or to change the times of their services.

And some hotels where runners and their families are staying plan to shuttle them to the meet.

The event is run by Annapolis Striders Inc., a local nonprofit running club with 1,200 members that has been a fixture in Anne Arundel County for 17 years, said Mr. Hillman, a former club president.

Hillman noted that club members have run the route on a number of Sunday mornings to gauge the amount of traffic.

"It's not that much," he said. "It's just a trickle."

The other factor working in organizers' favor is the time of day: The race begins at 7: 30 a.m., and roads are expected to reopen at 10 a.m.

City and county police have set up detours to direct cars away from the race route if there is a lot of traffic.

Sgt. Philip Turner, a special events coordinator with the Annapolis Police Department, said drivers westbound on Rowe will be detoured onto the Court of Appeals access road, while eastbound motorists will be rerouted onto Farragut Road.

He also said that the Naval Academy Bridge, which makes up the middle leg of the run, will be closed from 7: 25 a.m. to 10 a.m. A section of Rowe Boulevard between Melvin and Taylor avenues will be closed for approximately the same time period, he said.

About 20 city police officers and an unspecified number of county officers will be on hand to protect the race participants, Turner said.

"Runner safety is the priority at this point," he said. "We just want to get them across [Rowe Boulevard] with no problems."

Turner offered these tips to race participants for avoiding congestion and parking headaches:

Use car pools.

Park at the stadium.

Arrive early.

Turner, who has been the special events coordinator for 14 of his 24 years with the Annapolis department, said he tries to foresee potential problems.

"You plan for all aspects," he said. "No one injured and traffic flowing smoothly -- that's my concern."

Pub Date: 8/23/96

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