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Maniac Corner and the Center of the Universe Detour offer unique experiences for runners

This year’s Williams Route 66 Marathon offered two new experiences for participants – the Center of the Universe detour and Maniac Corner. Both offerings are unique in the marathon community.

“We already offer a world-class marathon,” said Chris Lieberman, executive director of Tulsa Route 66 Marathon, Inc. “But Maniac Corner and the detour are something you can only experience in Tulsa, and we are proud to offer something different to the running community.”

The Center of the Universe detour offered runners a unique opportunity to run an extra 0.3 mile to visit Tulsa’s historic Center of the Universe. The distinctive quality of the landmark is an eerie echo that is heard by someone standing in the center of the circle. Participants who stand at the center of the brick circle and talk will hear themselves echo, but others outside the circle can hear no such echo.

Karen Nienhaus, a runner on the Michelob Ultra team from St. Louis, wasn’t originally going to take the detour. Her coach then talked her into it.

“He told me ‘we live life to the ultra – why not take the detour?’” she Nienhaus said. “So I took it and it was really cool. The music was nice, the people were nice, and the coin was really cool.”

Rebecca Hicks from Del City, Okla., also enjoyed the detour. “I felt it towards the end, but it made me realize I could run farther than I thought I could,” she said.

Bands from Riverfield Country Day School and Undercroft Montessori School played at the Center of the Universe. Spectators applauded and shouted encouragement to the runners who voluntarily took the 0.3 mile detour. More than 400 runners took the detour and received special coins minted for the event. Any runner who did not receive a coin at the detour will receive on in the mail.

The Williams Route 66 Marathon also offered Maniac Corner this year. Maniac corner offered members of the Marathon Maniacs and the 50 States Marathon Club a special hospitality area, including food, seating, drinks, and a private gear check. The Maniac Corner tent drew runners from across the country to the Williams Route 66 Marathon. Terry Nelson, from Kansas City, is a member of both Marathon Maniacs and the 50 States Marathon Club. This marathon was his fifty-first marathon.

“Maniac Corner was one of the reasons I decided to run Route 66,” Nelson said. “I had already run the Oklahoma City race, but I have a sister in Tulsa, so I decided to come to this race. “The Williams Route 66 did a great job of welcoming us, and Maniac Corner was great.”

Andrea Amend from Wisconsin became a Maniac with the Williams Route 66 Marathon – it was her third race in 56 days. This race was her twenty-third marathon overall.

“I came here because of Maniac Corner,” Amend said. “It was an excellent experience, with places to sit and personal gear check.”

Due to positive feedback from participants, both the detour and Maniac Corner will be offered again in the 2011 events.