As marathon season gears up, organizers of the Little Rock Marathon (and companion races) are excited to announce a huge boost in registration for the 2010 race. Nineteen weeks since registration opened, application numbers have increased 34% compared to the same time frame last year. The Little Rock Marathon, presented by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, will be held March 6 & 7, 2010 in downtown Little Rock. The Little Rock Marathon is a project of and benefits Little Rock Parks & Recreation. After establishing a foundation for a successful race the past seven years, race officials expect a modest increase in participants; a notion based on previous trends and increased marketing efforts. Over the next couple of months, race officials will continue a strong marketing push at marathon expos throughout the South, reaching more than 200,000 potential participants from across the world. With over 1,100 people registered in the past month, early indications suggest that Little Rock will host 9,000 to 10,000 participants next March. The registration boom is attributed to increased exposure of the race to new athletes; continued positive word of mouth spread throughout the international marathon community, and a strong training program. “At this point, 35% of registered athletes will be participating in the Little Rock Marathon for the first time,” said Gregg Herning, Little Rock Marathon Race Chair, noting that previous participants should not wait to register. “The plan all along has been to get one participant on our course, let them experience our southern hospitality, award them the ‘world’s largest finisher’s medal’ and welcome them back the following year with a friend or two at their side. The plan is working.” Registration fees for the marathon and half marathon, which are among the lowest in the industry, will be increasing after November 1 and it is strongly recommended that interested runners and walkers register soon. Online registrations must be completed by 11:59 pm CST and mail registrations must be postmarked by November 1 to take advantage of the discounted pricing.