GARY, Ind. (CBS) — The city of Gary has announced it will host its first-ever marathon, and some shorter races, in less than two weeks along the lakefront.

Avid runner Tom Taylor told WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser his friends thought he was crazy when he suggested Gary have its own marathon.

“They responded, ‘In Gary?’ Yes, in Gary. There’s a lot more there than you know; especially Marquette Park itself totally has been redone. It’s a beautiful backdrop for a race,” he said.

Taylor used to run in that park, as a teenager, and now owns a running events company known as “Cause 2 Compete.

He approached Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson about starting a race they’re calling “Dawn of the Dunes.” It will feature a marathon, half-marathon, and 5K run.

“I won’t be participating as a runner. I will be participating as a spectator, but a very excited spectator,” Freeman-Wilson said. “We are so excited. We know that there are running enthusiasts all over northwest Indiana.”

There’s not much time to sign up. The first marathon is on Sunday, Oct. 27, so this year’s race probably will have a pretty small turnout.

“As soon as people get on this course, and realize how beautiful it is, and what’s here, this race will explode,” he said. “We’re looking down the road, five to ten years from now, as a major event in the Midwest.”

About 200 runners have registered so far.

“The marathon, and other races themselves, they’re open to all runners and walkers, all ages. We want this to be an event that includes as many people as possible,” he said.

Taylor also encouraged people who don’t want to walk or run in the events to come out to cheer for those who do.

“We want this event to be a community event; something that people rally around, something people share, something that people get excited about every year.”