Highlights include downtown start, return to Brookside and The University of Tulsa
The Williams Route 66 Marathon, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, will feature new courses this year. The changes were necessary to accommodate the increased participation in the races and the change to a two-day format.
“We spent a great deal of time looking at several options to increase the capacity of our courses to accommodate our rapid growth not only in 2011 but into the future.” said Chris Lieberman, executive director of Tulsa Route 66 Marathon, Inc. “In the end we were able to design excellent courses that met all of our objectives.”
The objectives for the changes to the courses were a direct result of the participant surveys after the 2010 Williams Route 66 Marathon and included:
- Start in downtown Tulsa to eliminate the need for pre-race hotel shuttles.
- Increase the capacity of the courses to accommodate 20,000 participants by 2013.
- Ensure the marathon and half marathon courses maintain a single route until the end of the half marathon course.
Both the marathon and half marathon courses will make a return to Brookside 7.25 miles in to the race.
The Brookside Entertainment District is a stretch of local restaurants, retailers, bars and venues located between 32nd and 41st Streets on Peoria Ave. Centered on Brookside is the Brook Restaurant and Bar once a 600-seat movie theater.
“Brookside is very excited about having the Route 66 Marathon back in our entertainment district,” said Janine Morales, president of the Brookside Business Association. “This is good for Brookside and good for the city of Tulsa. We need those sales dollars for Tulsa.”
The marathon course also features a tour of the University of Tulsa campus, a private, premier institution originally known as Henry Kendall College founded in 1894 and moved to Tulsa in 1907. Today, TU has more than 4,000 students and is ranked 75th among national doctoral universities in U. S. News & World Report’s 2012 edition of America’s Best Colleges.
“The University of Tulsa has undergone major transformations and renovations over the past few years – the most recent being the addition of the Lorton Performance Center – and we’re excited to show off our beautiful campus,” said Terry Hossack, associate vice president, The University of Tulsa. “We appreciate the organizers for including us on the course and look forward to helping encourage the athletes to the finish line.”
Many of the popular course sections from previous years remain, including Cherry Street, Cascia Hall, Swan Lake, Woodward Park, Riverside Drive and of course, the Center of the Universe Detour.
“We are proud to once again be part of the Williams Route 66 Marathon and showcase our unique district to thousands of out-of-town visitors,” said Mary Ellen Slape, owner of the Hunt Club and secretary of the Brady Arts District Business Association. “We’re also proud to be home to the Center of the Universe Detour, which like many of the unique businesses in the Brady Arts District can only be experienced here.”
Entertainment and spectators will continue to line the course keeping participants encouraged as they journey toward the finish line.
New course maps are also available for the Williams Route 66 Quarter Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 15 and the 5K and Fun Run courses happening Saturday, Nov. 19 during marathon weekend. To see the marathon course maps click here and quarter marathon courses click here.