CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - More than six thousand people have signed up for Charleston Marathon activities. While hitting the pavement, runners are also paving the way for Lowcountry students.
The big race kicks off in Downtown Charleston early Saturday morning.
On Friday, runners picked up registration packets and last-minute gear.
"It's only our fifth year, but the word is growing about the event," Executive Director Liz Alford said.
And by growing, that means runners from 49 states and seven countries are taking part. It's not what race founders say they had in mind. It's much bigger than that.
"My thinking when we were sitting around that coffee table was, this is great, I appreciate people's enthusiasm and support, can four people really make something this big happen?" Charleston County School District Fine Arts Coordinator Dr. James Braunreuther said.
Money from the race will go to Fine Arts programs in all Charleston County schools. Many already see the benefit.
"Since the marathon started, we have bought supplies for schools, we have steel drum programs," Braunreuther said.
The money has funded a new program called Engaging Creative Minds, which pairs county teachers with creative professionals, and together the two craft a plan to teach students in a more innovative way.
"We're one of the most affluent counties in the state, and I think we have about 54 percent poverty," Braunreuther said. "So how do we meet the need of all of our students?"
Organizers say that resource is this race.
"I'm hoping I can just keep on going and not hit the wall before mile 14," runner Noelene Power said.
There will be road closures as runners make their way from downtown into North Charleston.
The Race starts on President street and takes runners to the Battery, and up King Street and into Park Circle.
The race ends on East Montague.