Runners start their tour of Savannah in the city's downtown historic district on a course that takes them down streets and through residential neighborhoods that typically don't get much tourist traffic. It can make getting around a bit of a chore for locals, with more than 60 street closings scheduled between 3 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday.
Marathon organizer the Competitor Group insists that the hassle pays off for the local economy. They estimate runners and their guests attending last year's race spent $13.6 million during their stay in Savannah.
And Marinelli said more than 80 percent of marathon runners are traveling to Savannah from out of town, and he's confident many will return for a more leisurely visit.
"What makes this event so strong for us is that it brings the right kind of people to town who may not necessarily go shopping this time, but are going to be impressed with the city and its beauty and are going to want to come back again," he said.
That's a big reason that last year Savannah signed another three-year deal with race organizers to keep bringing the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon back through 2016.