Northern Central Trail Marathon gives runners a change of scenery

Tired of pounding 26.2 miles along city streets and highways? Looking for something to do after stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving dinner? Trying to find one more race to qualify for the marathon on most runners' bucket lists — Boston — in 2012?

The Northern Central Trail Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 26 at 9 a.m. in Sparks, might help you in each of those areas. Though there are no spots left in the two-person team or relay competition, there are remaining spots in the 550-person field for those interested in going the distance themselves.

An out-and-back course mostly run along the Northern Central Railroad, the start and finish are at Sparks Elementary School and all but about three miles of the course are run on flat stretches of dirt and fine stone trail. The trail runs along Gunpowder Road.

Registration for individual runners is now $95.

There will be medals awarded to the marathon finishers and relay teams, and after-race snacks and hot soup will be given out with a Northern Central Railway heritage theme.

"It's much different than the Baltimore Marathon," said Kelly Dees, who helps run the event. "It's pretty unique."

Registration closes Nov. 18.

For more information, go to or contact race director Dave Cooley of the Baltimore Roadrunners Club.

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