Tag Archives: Race Directors

Oprah Winfrey Marathon Time : Marine Corps Marathon

“I want to beat Oprah!” That is the goal of many runners. Oprah Winfrey finished 1994 Marine Corps marathon in a time of 4 hrs,  29 mins, 15 Secs.

If Frank Shorter inspired the first (1970s) running boom across US, Oprah Winfrey inspired the second, by running the Marine Corps Marathon. If Oprah could run a marathon, shame on anyone who couldn’t.

How Oprah ruined the Marathon.

While race directors across US were happy to welcome the new generation of runners or is it marathon walkers, the hard core runners were not happy. Edward Mccleland writing for salon.com thinks :-

America’s competitive spirit has been wrecked by feel-good amateurs like Oprah whose only goal is to stagger across the finish line.

I totally agree with him! The marathon is a race, the goal should be to finish it and to finish as fast as you can.

Read the fantastic salon article here

How to Attract More Marathon Entrants To A Race

Marathon business is a competitive business. In the USA alone over 400 marathons are organised each year targeting something like 400,000 runners.

The big marathons such as New York Marathon, Boston marathon and the Chicago marathon have no problem attracting runners, they dont even need to spend alot on marketing because it is the runners that come to them. But for many marathon races how to attract runners is a big headache.

Any race director who is organising a marathon and is wondering how he can attract more runners needs to read the following case studies. I read them from raonoke dot com.

Case Studies of formers struggling marathons and how they solved the problem

The Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee

The race started 10 years ago with hilly course, and participation fell off from 7,500 the first year to 6,300 the second year, said Adam Zocks, the race’s general manager. Organizers flattened the course and added a half-marathon. Last year, the races had a combined 31,000 participants.

The Mount Rushmore Marathon.

The mount Rushmore marathon in the black hills of South dakota which had a mountainous course has seen steady growth in recent years, says Steve Kurtenbach, president of All Sports Central, which organizes the race. He attributed part of that to adding a second, easier marathon course that now draws more runners than the original.

From this two case studies is clear that if the marathon course is hilly and tough a marathon race will find it difficult attracting willing runners, if a race directors manages to convince some novice local runners to participate, they will have a hard time such that they will not participate again.

But what about a race that with an easy flat course but struggles to attract runners.

Few marathon race can survive on local participation. The race director and the organisers must target runners from out of town. To get out of town runners to come the organisers must give them a good reason, rather than the marathon alone, as to why they should visit the town.

Like the organisers of country music marathon added “part of the Country Music Marathon’s success was people realizing that Nashville was a great destination apart from the race.”

Another well market marathon is the Suntrust Richmond marathon, the marathon targets first time marathon runners with the tagline “America’s most friendliest marathon”