A new hillier, tougher route for this year's Corporate Cup - LivewellNebraska.com
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A new hillier, tougher route for this year's Corporate Cup

Your legs will feel the biggest difference between Sunday's Corporate Cup and last year's race.

The 10K and 2-mile races are relocating from downtown Omaha and its flat, relatively fast course to the more scenic but hilly Aksarben Village area this year. Up to 15,000 runners and spectators are expected to flood the development near 67th and Center Streets.

This the first time in the race's 33 years that it won't be held at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

Gary Meyer, the race director since 2010, was given the task of designing the new route. He said, “There's no comparison between the two (routes) except they're both 10Ks.”

“We used to have a flat course with four turns,” he said. “Now we have a hilly course with 17 turns.”

Meyer revised the route 20 times before the City of Omaha and police approved it. “You're pretty hemmed in,” he said, when trying to avoid crossing Dodge, Center and 72nd Streets.

The route winds primarily through Elmwood Park and the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. Meyer said the first mile is flat, then there are rolling hills through mile four and it is flat or downhill the rest of the way.

First-place finishers typically crossed the finish line downtown shortly after the 30-minute mark. Meyer doubts anyone will finish in less than 33 minutes Sunday.

Though this year's course is more difficult, Meyer said there's more green space and better views.

Vanessa Urbach, who will run Sunday's Corporate Cup, tested the route last week. Though she's a little worried about the crowds, she's not concerned about the hills.

“I definitely wouldn't tell anybody, 'Oh gosh, it's terrible,' because I don't think that at all,” she said.

For the first time, an after-party will follow the race, with activities for kids and live music at Stinson Park as well as a beer garden at Liv Lounge.

The Corporate Cup will be Aksarben Village's largest one-day event. Local businesses are racing to prepare for the surge.

“We feel like it's going to be a mass of humanity down here, so we're trying to be as prepared as we can be,” said Bill Jones, co-owner of Jones Bros. Cupcakes at Aksarben Village.

The area's other high-profile events, including the Maha Music Festival and a weekly farmers market, draw roughly 5,000 people, Jones said. The Corporate Cup will nearly triple those numbers.

Jones expects to sell 10 times the amount of coffee the store typically sells on a Sunday. The shop also will give away one free mini cupcake to each runner.

Every staff member will work Sunday, when the shop opens two hours early, at 6 a.m. Additional cashiers will work outside.

Ponzu Sushi in Aksarben Village also will open two hours earlier, at 10 a.m., and other businesses will increase staff.

Free parking is available in surface lots and two garages on site as well as at First Data and UNO's Pacific Street Campus.

Organizers reserved Aksarben Village for this year only. Event coordinator Lisa Sypal with the American Lung Association's local chapter said the annual fundraiser will most likely stay there if everything goes well.

“It will be fun to see it come together on Sunday,” she said.

Race day information

Closed streets: Streets into Aksarben Village will close from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Pacific Street will close between 60th and 72nd Streets from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Most of the affected streets will reopen as runners leave the area.

Farmers market: The market begins at 9 a.m. in the parking lot behind Jones Bros. Cupcakes. Access it from 64th Avenue and Center Street and park on the nearby parking garage's first level.

Registration and packet pickup: 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. in the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska lobby.

Parking: Free at parking garages and surface lots in Aksarben Village and lots at First Data and the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Pacific Street Campus. There will be no parking on Aksarben Drive, Mercy Road or 67th Streets.

Access to and from the parking garage next to Blue Cross Blue Shield and roads within Aksarben Village will be closed while runners are in the area.

Start time: 10K at 8 a.m.; 2-mile race about five minutes after the last 10K runner crosses the starting line. The Scheels 100-yard Kids Dash for ages 5 through 10 starts at 9:30 a.m. near Frances and 67th Streets.

Strollers are allowed on the course. Pets are not.

Organizers are not designating meet-up areas for companies and their employees as in past years at the Civic Auditorium.

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