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Updated: Friday, 02 Nov 2012, 6:53 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 02 Nov 2012, 4:35 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Runners by the hundreds picked up their T-shirts and race bibs Friday – ready to race in Saturday morning’s Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Among them was Meghan Howard. She’s not a runner, but her friends from Chicago are.
“(They) asked me to run over here and get them registered, and they're going to make the trip this afternoon," said Howard.
Their original destination: the Big Apple for the iconic New York City Marathon.
But with gas shortages and power outages still plaguing Manhattan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, they made a last-minute decision.
"They're going to come here instead and run in Indy and hopefully put their good training to use," said Howard.
Even before the New York City Marathon was canceled Friday , marathon organizers in Indianapolis say Meghan's friends weren't the only ones choosing the Circle City.
"On Monday and Tuesday, we saw a tremendous surge in registrations - interest from all over the country," said marathon Executive Director Blake Boldon.
By Friday afternoon, more than 11,000 people from 46 states and nine countries had registered — a race record.
"Anyone who's a really committed marathoner has been training for weeks, maybe months, actually very likely months. And so to have that pulled out from underneath them, they were scrambling to find a place and we've done all we can to accommodate everybody," said Boldon.
The course includes some of the city's most famous landmarks - from the War Memorial to Monument Circle, Hinkle Fieldhouse to the State Fairgrounds, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
“They’re all very anxious to be in Indianapolis and to have a flat, fast course with good weather, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds,” said Boldon.
In addition to the marathon, other races include a half marathon, 5K run, and Kids Fun Run. The first race steps off at 8 a.m. near the corner of Washington and West streets. All races finish steps away from the State Capitol building.
At 6:30 p.m. Friday 80 spots for the marathon remained. Marathon officials say spots are available at a first come, first serve basis. Marathoners must be registered in order to run.
According to Executive Director Blake Boldon, after word came in that the New York City Marathon was canceled, the office was flooded with calls from across the county, including Seattle and San Francisco.