The Williams Route 66 Marathon, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, is a truly unique running experience that showcases the best of what Tulsa has to offer. Although many runners may not think of Tulsa as their first choice for a destination race, we can assure you that there is no better time to be had than partying (and running) your way down the historic Route 66 in Tulsa, Ok!
The marathon course starts in downtown Tulsa, home of the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture outside of Miami. Downtown Tulsa has undergone a stunning transformation in the past decade and is a bustling, vibrant full of world-class bars, restaurants, and stores. As the course leaves downtown Tulsa, runners enter one of Tulsa’s most impressive neighborhoods, Utica Square, Cascia Hall, Woodward Park and Maple Ridge. Enjoy your views of the stately homes and grand estates while waving to the many community members who have come out to cheer you on! It’s still early, and there is more fun to come!
As the course makes its way to midtown Tulsa hotspot Brookside, you’ll be greeted by an epic block party on Woodward Boulevard, complete with selfie stations, balloon arches, and some unique refreshments. You’re sure to hit a wall of sound as you approach the cheering fans outside the hopping Brookside District lined with stores, restaurants, bars and more. Here, you’re likely to find your first beer station on the course and a ton of music, cheers, and fantastic support! The course then heads down 41st Street towards Riverside, where a truly exciting treat awaits! Participants will head down Riverside Drive for three miles, making their way past the Gathering Place. This 66.5-acre, $465-million park opened in September 2018 and is the largest public park gift in history. The course heads through tunnels created underneath the land bridges that connect the park on either side of Riverside Drive, resulting in a flatter course and allowing participants to preview the Gathering Place for the first time!
Next, you’ll make your way onto Route 66 where you’ll run along this piece of American history and see the Route 66 Bridge and one of the largest Bronze Sculptures in North America titled “The East meets the West” the statue is packed with Route 66 symbolism. It depicts “a fictitious but probable encounter” in 1927 between a Model-T (the East) and a Tulsa oil field wagon pulled by two terrified horses (the West). The car carries the family of Cyrus Avery, “The Father of the Mother Road,” who in the 1920s successfully lobbied Congress to make Route 66 a national highway, and who also convinced the Route 66 Commission to run the road through Oklahoma. His persuasion was greatly aided by Tulsa’s 11th Street Bridge, the first concrete bridge west of the Mississippi (an important consideration for a national highway), which crosses the Arkansas River just beyond the sculpture.
After your journey down America’s Highway, you’ll back into downtown Tulsa before the half marathon splits from the full marathon. Full marathoners then head through downtown, Cascia Hall, Florence Park, known for it’s gingerbread style homes and then it’s onto beautiful Tulsa University! Of course, you’ll find plenty more beer stops along the way (along with the good old-fashioned water and Gatorade stops, of course), and as it gets to be later in the day, more and more community members come out to cheer the runners on! There’s no shortage of crowd support out on the course, and the Hash House Harriers are ready to greet you around mile 23.
As you make your way to the finish line, you’ll have the option of adding the Center of the Universe Detour to your race! The Center of the Universe detour offers runners a unique opportunity to run an extra .3 miles (and complete the World’s Shortest Ultramarathon) to visit Tulsa’s historic Center of the Universe. Stand on the designated spot and speak or shout! Participants who stand at the center of the brick circle and talk will hear themselves echo, but others outside the circle will not hear the echo. Freaky! Of course, you’ll earn a beer as your reward and receive a special commemorative coin!
As much fun as the marathon course is, the finish line party is even sweeter. Each year, we work on making our finish line experience even more fun for our participants! We make sure to have enough delicious food, recovery drinks, and of course, BEER for everyone! There’s also live music and plenty of place to relax, stretch out, and admire your shiny new bling!
As you might have guessed, the marathon sells out every year. Make sure you register early! You don’t want to miss out on this party!
The Williams Route 66 Marathon, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is a Boston-qualifying race that is run on a USATF certified course throughout 26.2 miles of the historic and scenic streets of Tulsa. All participants are timed electronically, and first time marathoners will receive a special “My First Marathon” Finisher’s Medal. The Center of the Universe Detour offers a free and optional detour to a unique Tulsa landmark, adding .3 miles to the race.