The clock is counting down to 8 a.m. Sunday, the starting time for the P.E.I. Marathon.

In all, about 3,000 people will run, walk, cycle or wheel themselves along some or all of the route. Islanders can expect to see the fastest runners cross the finish line around noon.

"I'm scared and excited," said Chris Gauthier, who is doing the half-marathon.

A fellow participant also has a few butterflies.

"Same. Never gone that distance before. Interested to see how well I can do," said David Boyce, who intends to run the full 42 kilometres.

Route turns inland this year

The full marathon begins in the Prince Edward Island National Park, but parts of the main road through the park are closed this fall for repairs. That has forced organizers to re-route the first 6.5 kilometres of the course

The Covehead Bridge is closed to traffic, but it will be open to marathon runners.

After crossing the bridge, instead of continuing along the shore, they'll turn inland.

Organizers say the alternate route has advantages.

The new route takes runners along Bayshore Road through Stanhope, which is more sheltered.

The route still includes scenic rural roads and portions of the Confederation Trail with the finish line in Charlottetown.

New route could become permanent

There is a chance the route changes could become permanent.

Martha Jenkins-

Myrtle Jenkins-Smith is race director of the BMO Nesbitt Burns P.E.I. Marathon. (CBC)

 "We are going to speak with participants after the event just to get their feedback on it. We really like it," race director Myrtle Jenkins-Smith said.

"We've been over it many many times in the past months and I think they'll find it's more sheltered and it's very scenic."

Drivers will be taking detours while the marathon is in progress Sunday.

Details on road restrictions are available online at peimarathon.ca.