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Williams Route 66 Marathon wins third place in national medal competition.

The Williams Route 66 Marathon, in its sixth year, finished third in a competition recognizing the best 25 marathon medals in North America in 2010. Marathon & Beyond, a 15-year-old, international bimonthly magazine tailored for marathoners and ultramarathoners, conducted the competition with a panel of 22 judges and announced the results in its May/June 2011 issue.

This is the second consecutive year that the Williams Route 66 Marathon medal has placed in the top three of the rankings. Last year, the 2009 medal design was selected as the second best medal and was featured on the cover of the May/June issue of Marathon & Beyond. Only one-third of the marathon medals featured in the 2009 rankings made the list again in 2010.

“With its second top 3 finish, the Route 66 Marathon remains the unquestionable leader in finisher medal design. We can’t wait to see what Chris and his creative team come up with for this year!” said Marathon & Beyond publisher Jan Seeley.

“This recognition is an incredible honor,” said Chris Lieberman, executive director of Tulsa Route 66 Marathon, Inc.  “We are excited to be building a reputation as one of the top races in the country for our medal design. We change the design each year to create a new medal that still reflects the uniqueness of our race and history of Route 66.”

The 2010 Route 66 Marathon medal is modeled after a classic car wheel that actually spins, and includes the historic Route 66 highway sign. According to Marathon & Beyond, the Route 66 medal’s spinning wheel was a favorite feature among the judges.

The design of the 2011 Route 66 Marathon and Half Marathon medals will be unveiled later this year.

Finisher’s medals, not commonplace until the 1980s, are now a staple at distance-running events.  These collectors’ items are important to runners, and many racers choose marathons based on the finisher’s medals.

In its sixth year the Route 66 Marathon expects to see a 30 percent growth over last year attracting approximately 12,000 runners in 2011 for a nearly $7 million estimated economic impact through direct, indirect and induced effects. The producers of the Williams Route 66 Marathon also produce the Williams Route 66 Quarter Marathon which will be run for the third time on Oct. 15, 2011.