The directors of the Williams Route 66 Marathon recently announced Michelob Ultra’s sponsorship of the Center of the Universe Detour. Michelob Ultra is also assembling a team of approximately 60 runners to participate in the family of events.
The Michelob Ultra running team was formed two years ago with the dissolution of the 180 Energy Drink, an Anhesuer-Busch product and the team’s original sponsor. The team was originally formed in 2000 with 15 competitive runners and now features more than 150 members including Zac Freudenburg who won the 2009 Williams Route 66 Marathon and broke the Guinness World Record for running a marathon while pushing a stroller with a time of 2:32:10. The team travels across the country competing in the Michelob Ultra Racing Series, which includes the Williams Route 66 Marathon, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
The Center of the Universe Detour is an optional 0.3-mile detour off the charted marathon course to Tulsa’s historic and eerie landmark by the same name. The distinctive quality of the landmark is an echo that is only heard by the individual standing at a designated spot within the circle. Others outside of the circle cannot hear the echo. Michelob Ultra representatives will be at the detour, which occurs during mile 16 of the marathon, with live music, free Michelob Ultra and to hand out commemorative coins marking their additional distance at the marathon and ability to “live life to the Ultra.”
“Our goal is to bring excitement on and off the course,” said Jeff Bockhorn, team captain and founding member of the Michelob Ultra running team. “In the true theme, we live life to the ultra. When you run those 26.2 miles or 13.1 miles, you’ve earned a reward and, for us, that reward is getting to share a Michelob Ultra with others just crossing the finish line.”
In addition to the sponsorship, members of the team will be giving motivational talks at the Health, Fitness and Sustainability Expo, presented by St. John Health System, taking place on Friday, Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Tulsa Convention Center.
“Michelob Ultra’s support of our event is incredible,” said Chris Lieberman, executive director of the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon, Inc. “Not only are they a wonderful corporate sponsor, but to have them bring approximately 60 runners from across the nation to participate in our event is a huge compliment to the work our board does in trying to put on one of the country’s best races each year.”
Other elite runners traveling to Tulsa with the Ultra team include Bryan Glass, Montana’s Governor’s Cup Champion; wheeler Don Dowling, an Olympic bronze and silver medalist; and Andy Derks, 2010 overall Williams Route 66 Marathon champion.
“This race is second to none,” Bockhorn said. “Every year more and more team members are asking to go. Route 66 is the entire package from the organization and expo to special features (like the Center of the Universe), you can tell this is not your ordinary marathon and we want to be a part of it.”