Story Angles & Ideas Marathon celebrates full races – For the first time in the races’ history, the marathon, half marathon and marathon relay have sold out. The board of directors made the proactive decision to cap the races at 30 percent growth each year to provide the best race possible for all runners. All races are expected to sell out by race day with a total of 10,500 participants.
Corporate Challenge –Also for the first time, the Williams Route 66 Marathon is offering the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma Corporate Challenge. Companies of various sizes are competing to win the BCBS Oklahoma Cup. Teams earn points through running, volunteering and fundraising and the winning team in each division will house the trophy at their place of business for the coming year. More than 600 participants from 19 companies will compete in the inaugural competition, so watch for their company shirts over the weekend.
Mascot Dash returns for 2012 –A crowd favorite returns for 2012. The Mascot Dash takes place on Saturday, Nov. 17 alongside the 5K and one-mile fun run. The dash features approximately 15-20 mascots from the Tulsa area competing for bragging rights as the area’s fastest mascot. Photos from last year’s jaunt are included in the photos folder on the Route 66 marathon website. This race gets kids’ attention and gets our youngest citizens excited about running.
Center of the Universe Detour returns in 2012 –The party rocks all morning at the Center of the Universe Detour, celebrating its third appearance in Williams Route 66 Marathon events. A DJ will keep the crowds rockin’ and spectators can participate in a tin foil hat contest to go with the keg party in full swing. Marathon runners can choose to run an additional 0.3-mile detour to visit Tulsa’s historic Center of the Universe. Participants who choose to take the detour receive a commemorative coin, and runners love bling!
Israeli runner and below-the-knee amputee to run marathon – Eitan Hermon is a marathon runner and former Israeli soldier wounded in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War when his tank was hit by a road side bomb. Prior to being injured, Eitan was a competitive runner and he vowed as he was being carried away on a stretcher that he would run another marathon. He wears a prosthetic leg below the knee and currently holds one of the fastest marathon times in the world for athletes in this class. He is in Tulsa as a guest of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa through the generous support of the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. Hermon is one of several Israeli runners over the last three years to visit Tulsa and participate in the Williams Route 66 Marathon. To view Eitan’s blog, please visit: http://route66marathon.com/category/eitan-hermon-blog/
Medals for kids –Anyone ages 12 and under who completes the 5K or one-mile fun run on Saturday receives a special medal designed specifically for our youngest runners. Additionally, more than 300 kids trained with the YMCA, some of whom were sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, to prepare for their first 5K on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Williams Route 66 Marathon is celebrating Council for Responsible Sport Certification –The Williams Route 66 Marathon is green! To obtain this certification, the races must meet a variety of requirements to reduce the environmental impact of the race weekend including reducing the use of supplies like paper and plastic as much as possible, and provide avenues for runners to participate in these efforts, such as recycling, opting out of receiving a participant shirt, recycling used running shoes at the expo and purchasing carbon offsets. The Williams Route 66 Marathon received this certification at the beginning of 2012. This is the only event in Oklahoma, and one of very few events in the Midwest, to hold CRS Certification. In addition, the Williams Route 66 Marathon is a founding member of the Council’s Sports Events Community of Practice to help lessen the carbon footprint of other sporting events.
Half Fanatics join VIPs on Sunday –For the past two years, the Williams Route 66 Marathon has welcomed members of the Marathon Maniacs and 50 States Marathon Club to Tulsa with a special VIP area, rightfully named “Maniac Corner”, by offering exclusive VIP amenities, including a private tent with reserved food and beer, private gear check and specially-designed medals. For the first time, the Williams Route 66 Marathon is opening up this VIP service to members of the Half Fanatics – runners who have run a specific number of half marathons in a pre-determined amount of time. As 1.6 million runners finished a half marathon in 2011, this has become the most popular distance event gaining more and more runners each year, which means this event equals high tourism dollars for Tulsa.
Route 66 Runner Bloggers’ Forum –Running Bloggers from across the world will descend upon Tulsa for the 2012 Williams Route 66 Marathon race weekend and will have the opportunity to attend an innovative forum open to both the public and bloggers. The bloggers’ forum will take place at 2pm, Saturday, Nov. 17, followed immediately by a tweet-up at the main stage at of the Health, Fitness and Sustainability Expo located at the Tulsa Convention Center. The forum will be moderated by Social Media Tulsa. In an effort to centralize the tremendous twitter traffic associated with the marathon events, organizers have created the hashtag #Rt66run for participants and spectators to use during marathon weekend.