San Francisco marathon gains Olympic qualifying status

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A future Olympian, or several, may be racing down the streets of San Francisco this weekend.

On Sunday, the San Francisco Marathon is celebrating being newly anointed as a sanctioned USA Track & Field qualifier race for the 2016 Olympic Team Trials.

“The new designation elevates The San Francisco Marathon’s level of competition, attracting top competitive runners and starting a journey that race spectators can follow through to the Olympic Team Trials and beyond,” San Francisco Marathon’s director of marketing Michelle LaFrance said in a statement. “It is an honor for San Francisco to be a city where Olympic dreams can be realized.”

The San Francisco Marathon, in its 38th year, is also adding a few new additions in order to ramp up excitement and engagement as well as commemorate the race’s new status.

One significant new feature is The San Francisco Marathon Race Weekend App, which is available now to download on iPhone and Android mobile devices, allows spectators to track runners live, access an interactive course map, live leaderboards, messaging, social sharing, and push notifications, race officials said.

A new “Finish Line Festival and Beer Garden” will be offered from 9 a.m.-noon, where runners and non-runners can enjoy beer and food truck fare.

Global live-streaming race coverage will also be taking place online for the first time this year on usl.tv. Race organizers said they are also encouraging viewers to participate in social media using the hashtag #TSFM2015, broadcasting these posts on the screens at the Finish Line Festival.

The San Francisco Marathon features a 5K, two half-marathons, a full marathon, and a double-marathon. It is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and now the first USA Track & Field sanctioned marathon in the Bay Area, according to race officials.

“Every year, we strive to enhance the San Francisco Marathon for all participants-runners and supporters,” LaFrance said in a statement.

” 1/8There 3/8 are major firsts for us this year and we look forward to a record turnout.”

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