Williams Route 66 Marathon Wraps Record-Breaking 10th Anniversary Weekend
Nearly 16,000 runners met in downtown Tulsa on November 21-22, 2015 to participate in the 10th Annual Williams Route 66 Marathon presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. The race completely sold out, generating an estimated economic impact of $8 million and bringing in runners representing all 50 states, including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. In addition, 12 countries were represented including the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Spain, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Argentina, Cayman Islands, Scotland and China.
“With participation up 50 percent compared to 2014, it was a great way to celebrate our 10th anniversary,” said Chris Lieberman, executive director of the race. “The weather was beautiful, and we got to be a part in life changing events – from multiple wedding proposals, runners completing life goals and families growing healthy together. We’ve already begun preparing for the 2016 Williams Route 66 Marathon and cannot wait to bring more tourists to Tulsa.”
In addition to economic development and substantial growth, the Williams Route 66 Marathon raised $75,000 for local Tulsa charities, adding to the $200,000 raised by the marathon’s Charity Challenge in previous years. The race also has a heavy emphasis on being environmentally friendly. By using compostable, biodegradable and recyclable materials, none of the marathon waste went into a landfill. In addition, discarded clothes and unused water and food were donated to local charities.
The weekend kicked off Nov. 20 with the largest health, fitness and sustainability expo in Northeast Oklahoma. All participants attended to pick up race packets and see the latest in running gear.
The excitement continued Saturday morning with several family-friendly activities including a 5K, one-mile fun run and mascot dash. Over 40 professional and local school bands and DJs performed during all races to pump up participants, while supporters filled the start line cheering on their friends and relatives.
Sunday morning, athletes filled the start line for the marathon, half-marathon, and marathon relay to beat of Native American drums and chanting to bless the route, followed by the singing of the national anthem. DJ Moody then pumped up the anticipating participants and spectators before they received a traditional confetti shower to kick off the race alongside live music, block parties and aid stations to lift runners’ spirits.
Participants had the option of taking the Center of the Universe detour, making the Williams Route 66 Marathon the world’s shortest ultra marathon. This detour only adds .3 miles to the course and takes guests through the Center of the Universe landmark in downtown Tulsa. Participants who took the Center of the Universe Detour received a commemorative coin, free beer and Red Bull. More then 50% of the marathon field participated in this free detour on the course.
“The Route 66 Marathon is the only Marathon that offers a detour like this,” says Lieberman. “To me, the best part of the Center of the Universe Detour is that you don’t have to register for it. It is a decision every participant has to make as they approach the detour, which is in the last mile of the marathon. The peer pressure to take the detour builds as runners get closer to the landmark.”
Adam Lazrus from Silver Spring, Md., was the first runner to cross the marathon finish line in 2:44:53. Jenna Mutz from Joplin, Mo., was the first female to complete the marathon in 3:08:40. The half marathon winners were Mark Thompson, from Edmond, Okla., and Natasha Cockram from Tulsa, Okla.
Registration is open for the 2016 Route 66 Marathon. Visit www.route66marathon.com for details on the 11th Annual Williams Route 66 Marathon.