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FORT WORTH While Cowtown Marathon crews are busy setting up for runners this weekend at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, a few miles away, city crews are doing some marathon preparations of their own.

Just days before the race, mile No. 22 of the Cowtown Marathon route near the Colonial Country Club is torn up. There are even gaping holes in the pavement some 17 feet deep that no one would want to run upon.

It's all part of an ongoing sewage and water line project in Fort Worth.

'It's a project that has several phases,' said water department spokeswoman Hilda Zuniga. 'We're on phase three.'

But Zuniga told News 8 all of the construction mess will be cleaned up by Thursday afternoon. That means equipment and machines will be gone.

And those holes?

'Those are going to be topped off with metal plates, and then around the metal plates, they're going to add some asphalt to make everything safe,' Zuniga pledged. 'No debris or anything is going to be around there.'

That also includes covering up holes that aren't on the race route, but could pose a danger for onlookers.

'It is close,' Cowtown Marathon executive director Heidi Swartz said of the time frame, 'but we'll check it again on Friday.'

Swartz knows, much like her runners, these crews are up against the clock. But they knew about this roadblock beforehand.

It's issues they can't anticipate like water main breaks that cause anxiety.

'It's something we all have to keep an eye on daily,' Swartz said.

The Cowtown Marathon is seeing explosive numbers, in part because of the weather-related cancellation of December's Dallas Marathon.

Both the ultra-marathon and the children's 5K have capped out, even after adding more spots. And as of Wednesday morning, there were just 100 spots left for Sunday's 26.2-mile spotlight race.

Despite appearances to the contrary, Zuniga said runners shouldn't worry about the ongoing construction affecting their time.

'It will be done,' she said of the cleanup. 'You'll have a good run.'

Swartz added that each year there is typically construction somewhere along the route that must be dealt with before the race. And in this spot specifically, crews will have to clean up again in April for the Colonial golf tournament.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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