Race held here for 26th time.

With the most runners on the course — mostly Highway 23 — since Booneville re-assumed sponsorship of the Arkansas Marathon, event officials and law enforcement alike are requesting area drivers use caution on Highway 23 Saturday.

The 50th annual Arkansas Marathon, half marathon, 10K and Mayor’s 5K will start at 7 a.m. Saturday morning in front of the Arkansas Revenue Department Office on Broadway.

Runners will head south to the curve past the former Bearcat Restaurant, head east on Venable for one block and turn south again on Sharpe/Highway 23.

The remainder of the respective races will have runners continue south until their respective half way points and returning on the opposite side of the highway until they reach Venable again.

The Arkansas Marathon is the longest continuously held marathon in the state. Because Booneville was the host from 1978-1995 and resumed its role as host in 2010 Saturday’s event means with 26 races, Booneville has hosted more than all other hosts combined.

Booneville hosted the Arkansas Marathon from 1978 through 1995 before surrendering its role as host. After it was held in Malvern and Benton over the next 15 years local officials jumped at the chance to resume hosting the event in 2010.

Since Booneville resumed serving as the marathon host it has had relatively few runners each year until this year when the pool should surpass 200. Collectively they represent 19 states.

As of last week the half marathon was still the most popular but those running the 50th annual marathon was approaching 50. The half marathon was also the most popular distance by runners, last year.

In its initial run in the city, the event was held in March, making it a particularly popular event, because as has been the case during its tenure as a Booneville event, the marathon is a pre-qualifying event for the annual Boston Marathon held each year on Patriot’s Day in Boston.