Signing up online for the 2014 Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon was less painful than applying for Obamacare, with the races filling up in less than 12 hours -- a new record.
Registration for the May 4 event started at 12:01 a.m. on New Year's Day and finished at 11:35 a.m., said Gary Bredehoft, co-race director.
During that time, 12,500 runners registered, a 25 percent increase over last year's field of 10,000. Registration for last year's race was over in about 16 hours.
"In the first 25 minutes we had 2,250 entries. It was almost a hundred per minute. It was unbelievable. It came out of the gates fast," Bredehoft said.
Initially, some runners had to wait or try several times to sign up online but the logjam cleared and there were few problems throughout the morning, he said.
Runners could register through several websites, including lincolnmarathon.org and lincolnrun.org. But the race is now full and some runners will be disappointed.
Of the 12,500 entries, 14 percent signed up for the full marathon and 86 percent for the half marathon. The youngest was 8 and the oldest 86. Sixty-one percent of the registrations were female; 39 percent were male.
Nebraska had the most runners with almost 11,000, followed by Iowa and Kansas. The race drew runners from 43 states. There were also entries from Singapore, Canada, an Italian Air Force Base and the District of Columbia.
Bredehoft was surprised that the registration went so quickly. He thought that an additional 2,500 spots would take some of the pressure off and the race would fill up in a day.
"I didn't think it would go under 16 (hours)," he added.
The Lincoln Track Club, the main sponsor of the event, increased registration this year because it widened the Helen Boosalis Trail, where racers often bottlenecked during the sixth, seventh and eighth miles of the run.
The trail, along Nebraska Highway 2, will be 10 feet wide this year thanks to city and county grants and fundraising that covered the $500,000 project.
Bredehoft attributed the races' rising popularity to pre-race hype on the Internet, the expanded trail, a nice course and lower entry fees compared to other marathons.
"It keeps snowballing. It's a good thing for the city of Lincoln and the track club. It's nice to have an event so wanted by the public," Bredehoft said.
The National Guard, the city, and Pepsi Cola of Lincoln are major sponsors of the race and do a great deal to help it grow each year, he said.
No decision has been made on whether to expand the race to 15,000 runners in 2015, Bredehoft said.
The track club plans to monitor the wider Boosalis Trail and the Cornhusker Marriott, the new venue for packet pick-up and expo.
"We'll see how it goes. If it goes smoothly and well, we'll consider going to 15,000," Bredehoft said.