If you're an avid runner you have to be stoked for the upcoming half and full marathons on September 13, 2015 in Sioux Falls.

Big changes are in the works this year for both races. There will be a new course with new starting and finishing points, along with an elite runner program.

In years past, both races have begun at Howard Wood Field and finished at Sertoma Park. Not the case this year, as both races will begin at the Denny Sanford Premier Center and finish on the track at Howard Wood, with runners given a straightaway path to the finish line, facing the video board at the stadium.

The other big change, the Sioux Falls race will now feature an elite runner program for both races.

According to race director Wes Hall, “Elite programs are common at larger marathons, but we’ve never done one before. We want to highlight the best runners we have in our city.”

Elite runners are the best of the best the city has to offer. The elite runners will be selected on a case-by-case basis, based on a variety of factors. And they must be from Sioux Falls.

Runners must first meet a qualifying time. For the full marathon it's 3 hours, 15 minutes for men and 3 hours, 45 minutes for women. Those times are based off the Boston Marathon qualifying times for men and women ages 40-44.

Half-marathon runners must meet a qualifying time of 1 hour, 25 minutes for men and 1 hour, 35 minutes for women.

Runners can apply on the marathon’s website, siouxfallsmarathon.com. The runners selected as "elite" will receive free registration and a free meal the night before the race.

The final approval of the design for the new course is almost official. The Sioux Falls Police Department has already signed off on the new routes. The course itself should be should be certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier in early August.

Hall said, they'll go out with a bike and measure the distance of the route to the foot. “If we’re long or short on either the half or the full, then we have to make adjustments to the route. We have some residential areas on the courses where we can go one block over or cut one out if we need to. We’ll make sure we’re at 13.1 and 26.2 exactly.”

Anyone wishing to qualify for the Boston Marathon or other events like the Olympic Trials must compete on certified courses to qualify.

Source: Argus Leader