Thousands of participants lined up for the free Health and Fitness Expo at Marina Green Park to grab free samples and sports gear.
LONG BEACH, Calif (KABC) -- Raul Romo has been training hard these past six months. The Long Beach native says this will be his 14th marathon overall and his fourth time participating in the Long Beach Marathon.
"I've been training really hard. It's taken me a while to get back to a physical condition where I feel like I'm actually getting there. So yeah, I'm very excited," said Romo.
Romo is one of 18,000 runners who will be participating in this year's marathon which includes a half marathon and a 5K. It's the biggest turnout since the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I did the marathon 30 times; I did the half-marathon the last eight years. And I think it's time to bump down to the 5k," said legacy runner Tom Frost.
"I'm so excited! This is my favorite marathon. This will be my second time doing it. It's super fun and the best crowd," said marathon participant Giulianna Lomaglio.
Thousands of participants lined up for the health and fitness expo at Marina Green Park to grab free samples and sports gear.
"For the first time since Covid, it truly feels like the event is all the way back. Right now we're standing in our brand new health and wellness expo. And then we're also welcoming a new presenting sponsor with Philips Sonicare," said event organizer Dan Cruz.
It all starts off on Saturday with the Aquarium of the Pacific 5K at 6:50 a.m., followed by another day of the wellness expo. Sunday is when the main event begins.
"The running gets started at 5:55 a.m. with our wheelchair start. We'll have the marathon, the half-marathon and the bike tour on Sunday all in welcoming 18,000 runners this weekend," Cruz said.
Residents, businesses and visitors are urged to plan ahead and allow extra time for travel because starting Sunday at 5 a.m., road closures will take effect.
"If you're waiting in line or if you're stuck in a little bit of traffic, have a great mindset because one out of five, 20 percent of these runners are going to be doing something incredible Sunday morning."
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