COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Organizers of a Columbus marathon are stepping up their recruitment efforts in hopes of drawing more runners to the September event.
Representatives of the Mill Race Marathon will travel to running events in Louisville, Kentucky, and Indianapolis this summer to recruit serious runners who might be looking for a nearby qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.
Organizers tell The Republic they’re hoping to have 6,000 to 7,000 participants on the course this year. That would be about 2,000 more than last year, when participation dropped off.
The Sept. 26 event features a 26.2-mile marathon, a half-marathon, a 5K run/walk and a health expo. A Fun Run for kids is scheduled on Sept. 25.
The recruiting efforts will focus on the Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville on April 25 and the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 2 in Indianapolis.
Organizers hope taking the race to the runners early in the season will get momentum going.
“Being able to push the awareness of it out much earlier is going to help us out in terms of registration,” said Randy Stafford, a Mill Race committee member.
Marathon organizers have other items they hope will attract runners. The marathon will give away a 2015 RAM 2500 crew cab heavy-duty pickup in conjunction with auto dealer Bob Poynter and engine maker Cummins.
“We’re talking about a truck that is worth upward toward $50,000, and that in itself would be what an elite level racer could win at an event like the Chicago Marathon or the New York Marathon,” Russo said.
Participants in the 5K will be entered in a drawing for a new bicycle.
Dave Venable, a planning committee member, said 16 percent of last year’s marathon runners left with a ticket to run the Boston Marathon.
“That is one of the highest percentages I’ve ever seen in any marathon,” he said.
But some runners were derailed by an errant freight train that crossed the marathon course at Lindsey Street and caused runners to lose time trying to go around or through the train cars. Some runners were delayed two to three minutes.
Race organizers say they have met repeatedly with railroad officials and have been assured the incident won’t happen again.
Information from: The Republic, http://www.therepublic.com/
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