AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the Austin Marathon just hours away, participants say the night before the race includes lots of rest and plenty of pasta.

All day Friday and Saturday, runners checked in at the Palmer Events Center. This year’s race is expected to be the biggest ever with around 18,000 people registered for the 5K, half marathon, and marathon.

Hali Paul will run 13.1 miles in his sixth half marathon on Sunday. He says his excitement has been building for months.

“It’s not just about race day, it’s also about the weeks and months leading up to it,” Paul said.

Paul says his favorite cheerleader will be on the sideline this weekend. His mother flew 19 hours from Jordan to attend, he says her support and those of his friends will make the long run easier.

“I’m very thankful that my mom she came from overseas. I’m really excited about it and our friends cheering and it’ll be a good time,” Paul said.

Experienced runner Melissa Watts is also running the half marathon.

Watts says her pre-race routine will have lots of carbs. Each bite in an effort to reach her goal of running faster than this time in 2022.

“Just for that fuel and energy to get through the race, and mainly just be able to, hopefully, maybe beat my time from last year,” Watts said.

The Austin Marathon kicks off 7am Sunday, February 19. Click here to find out how you can watch from home.