ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The annual Snickers Marathon is just five days away and it's expected to boost Albany's economy by more than $600,000.
After a slow start to registration, organizers said more runners signed up this past weekend.
"Low of 43, high of 70, you're looking at perfect running weather, and so we have had a huge increase this past weekend alone in registration," Albany Convention & Visitor's Bureau & Snickers Marathon Director Rashelle Beasley said.
Organizers said they're now just 100 shy of the annual goal of 1,200 runners.
"You have runners who want to, who are novelists, not really looking to do a goal, a PR or qualify for Boston, it's just a fun thing for them to do," explained Beasley.
For the city, it's one of the largest events that could bring in more than $600,000.
Beasley and her team started planning as early as June.
"It will take a huge, huge decrease for us to even consider not having the marathon," said Beasley.
Hilton Garden Inn is one downtown hotel that relies on the money the race brings in.
In fact, Sales Director Marcus Humphries timed the hotel's renovations with the marathon. Coming soon, there will be a new lobby and fresh furniture in the rooms.
"Just so we can say, 'Hey we know this is the Snickers Marathon, we want you to come back not just for the marathon but come back as a repeat visitor,'" explained Humphries.
For the first time, Humphries and his staff will have a vendor table to showcase what the hotel has to offer at the marathon.
"Hopefully, all the responses we're getting, they're like, 'Wow, what is this? Do you have any layouts? Do you have any pictures of how it's going to look?' We're just like, 'No, you'll have to wait, it's all a surprise,'" said Humphries.
Humphries said all of the rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn are sold out because of the marathon.
A majority of the runners will arrive on Friday and checkout on Saturday.
Snickers Marathon organizers are also looking for 600 residents to volunteer as road marshals to direct the runners and stop cars.
Participants can pick-up their packets during the runners' expo on Friday at the Albany Civic Center from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
And for those runners who register this week, we've got some tips on how you can prepare for the Snickers Marathon.
Participant and owner of Wild Side Running, Chris Phillips has run in the half marathon for six years.
Phillips recommends runners to take care of any injuries and don't do anything to overstress the body. He said to hydrate the body all week long given the temperatures change frequently in Southwest Georgia, and try to cut out heavy foods like red meats and fried dishes.
"If you haven't been running, get you a couple of runs in, get the legs feeling fresh. With a week to go, there's nothing that you can do to really change anything at this point. Just stay stress-free and don't worry about it, try to run your own pace. and have fun," explained Phillips.
Philips also recommends first-time marathon or half marathon runners to stop at the aid stations for water and a snack so you can continue to feed your body while you run.