Fri., November 2, 2012 3:45pm (EDT)

Savannah Prepares For Marathon
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 1 year ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Mayor Edna Jackson spoke at the kick-off event. The Rock and Roll Marathon puts a twist on the standard run by adding rock bands along the route.  Last year's inaugural event drew some fire for the way it moved people over the Savannah River to race headquarters on Hutchinson Island. (photo: Competitor Group)
Mayor Edna Jackson spoke at the kick-off event. The Rock and Roll Marathon puts a twist on the standard run by adding rock bands along the route. Last year's inaugural event drew some fire for the way it moved people over the Savannah River to race headquarters on Hutchinson Island. (photo: Competitor Group)
Savannah residents are gearing up for downtown disruptions but also a financial windfall because of a marathon in the city Saturday.

The second ever Rock and Roll Marathon will bring about 17 thousand runners to the coast.

The marathon spices up the traditional running formula by adding stages along the route where rock bands and cheerleaders urge on participants.

City officials kicked off the event Thursday.

Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis says the event is now second to Savannah's famed Saint Patrick's Day for tourist spending.

"Maybe the amount of money they spend will be not $32 million but maybe $35 million dollars or more. Because it really helps our community," says Liakakis. "It helps hotels, restaurants and all our businesses."

Last year's marathon brought criticism for the way it moved people around.

Race organizer Malain McCormick says this year's marathon took advice from city officials.

"Last year on Friday, we had a bit of a traffic jam getting over to the island," McCormick says. "So we've worked diligently to make sure that is taken care of this year. You're going to see more ferries on the water and we'll see a better parking program at the convention center."

Runners also are being encouraged to spend more time and money downtown.