RALEIGH — The City of Raleigh has set new limits on races that run through downtown and the Hillsborough Street area in response to a growing number of marathons and races that have been scheduled in recent years.
Director of RunRaleigh Races, Paula O'Neal, has seen the city's growing race popularity firsthand.
"In 2010 we had about 45, 50 races. In 2011 and 2012 they skyrocketed to 70 [races]. I think this year they were on track to be around 80 to 90," said O'Neal.
The road race task force examined how much is too much while drafting new regulations to set limits on the number of races run every year between downtown and Hillsborough Street.
On Tuesday, city leaders agreed to the changes.
"In the past, if you wanted to get a race going it might be difficult to know where to start. Now there's going to be a single application and processing fee and everything will be made known on the front end," said City of Oaks Marathon Race Director Ron Wahula.
Among the limits are no more than 100 events that involve street closings can be scheduled in a given year and the city can't have more than four events scheduled in the same weekend.
"What we're trying to do is utilize existing assets like our greenway system and our park systems so we can get some of these races off roads," said Law and Public Safety Committee Chair Mary-Ann Baldwin.
City leaders initially discussed a fee of $350 for every mile that a race uses a greenway trail as part of its route but race organizers that that fee could be too high.
The City Council waived the fee for 2014 but will continue to monitor it going forward.
"We don't want to discourage it. The limit is there to represent the limited tolerance for the community in general," said assistant city manager Daniel Howe.
"I think overall its a good policy to be set in place," said O'Neal.
For a city growing in popularity, the regulations serve to make sure Raleigh isn't overrun with races every weekend.
The new regulations will go into effect immediately. The limitations only apply to events held within the city.