Running USA's Annual Marathon Report

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U.S. finisher total surpasses ½ million mark for the first time; more all-time records for the classic distance; ING New York City Marathon sets another world record as largest ever

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - (March 16, 2011) - Despite the lingering recession, "marathon mania" continued in the U.S. with another record year of growth as U.S. marathons in 2010 had an estimated 507,000 finishers, an 8.6% increase from 2009, the second largest increase in the past 25 years (U.S. marathons grew 9.9% in 2009). Last year, across the country, the majority of large marathons reported sold-out or record fields, and 2011 looks to continue this growth trend as the following U.S. marathons have sold-out in record time: Boston (8 hours!), Marine Corps (28 hours) and Bank of America Chicago (31 days), while other marathons such as Chevron Houston, Big Sur, LIVESTRONG Austin and Cowtown also filled their fields.

In past annual marathon reports, Running USA has summarized why this impressive and historic growth has happened, namely training programs (charity and non-charity), the challenge of 26.2 miles, bucket list appeal, women's growth and fun, well-organized community events.

For the complete 2010 report with a summary of marathon demographics and interesting stats and trends, CLICK here.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon Makes U.S. Development Pledge

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - (March 14, 2011) - Officials of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon have announced a major incentive for emerging American elite distance runners and a challenge to event directors of major U.S. distance races to help support the development of U.S. distance runners and to build upon the decade-plus resurgence.

"We want as many American men and women to participate in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston this January 14 and to that end, we will bonus any American $1000 cash for qualifying for the Trials at our race," said Steve Nearman, event director of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 2. "This means sub-1:05:00 for men and sub-1:15:00 for women."

Nearman also announced another initiative, based on an inspiring story brought back from the recent Running USA 2011 conference by American Running Association CEO Dave Watt.

Watt recounted a moment at the conference when Team USA Arizona founder and coach Greg McMillan and his runners took the stage to receive a $25,000 grant from Running USA. McMillan and some of his runners in his emerging program broke into tears of joy at the significance of the grant. Many of the 500 attendees at the awards ceremony also got teary-eyed.

This story so moved officials of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half that they committing $1 per entry to fund an elite training program for the Olympic year 2012. With an expected sellout of more than 6,000 entrants, race officials are hoping their sizable grant will inspire other races to do the same.

"I challenge my friends and fellow event directors to follow suit," stated Nearman, adding that the Wilson Bridge Half already awards U.S.-only prize money. "If Carey Pinkowski of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon could donate $1 per runner, we're talking $45,000-plus. Dave McGillivray at Boston, another $25,000-plus. Mary Wittenberg at New York City, another $50,000-plus. Rick Nealis at Marine Corps, another $30,000-plus. Same with Jim Vandak at the Army Ten-Miler, another $30,000 or so. That's nearly $200,000 right there to support American runners."

Officials also announced the renewal of sponsors National Harbor, Westin National Harbor, R&B Inc., Elizabeth Lucchesi / McEnearney Realtors and Curcio Law Firm.

Like last year, the race will benefit Autism Speaks, Alice Ferguson Foundation, Back on My Feet, Child & Family Network Centers and Washington Area Women's Foundation. The race also announced a commitment to the RunningBrooke Fund, inspired by Brooke Curran who is well into her goal of running a marathon in every State and continent and the five World Marathon Majors.

"I am pleased to announce that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon has 'laced up their shoes' to become the latest RunningBrooke Sponsor," Curran said. "By supporting the RunningBrooke Fund - committing to $1K a year for the next five years - The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon is underpinning vital Alexandria charities that serve the at-risk in our hometown."

The course begins at the historic Washington home of Mount Vernon, VA, rolls up the George Washington Memorial Parkway and crosses the Potomac over the famous Woodrow Wilson Bridge before finishing at the unique Awakening statue in the resort of National Harbor, MD. For more information, visit and Facebook.

Russian Olympian, Japanese Marathoner Join Honda LA Marathon Field

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LOS ANGELES - (March 15, 2011) - Two professional female marathoners who were scheduled to run in the cancelled Nagoya Women's Marathon are headed to Los Angeles to run in the 26th Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss on Sunday, March 20.

Russian Olympian Albina Mayorova and Japanese marathoner Eri Okubo will compete on the Stadium to the Sea course this Sunday, allowing them to race just a week later than they had planned in Japan.

"When we recognized the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on the running community in Japan, for which the Nagoya Women's Marathon is an important race, we immediately extended an invitation to the elite field to come to Los Angeles," said Nick Curl, LA MARATHON LLC chief operating officer. "Along with our ongoing fundraising efforts for Japan relief, we're delighted to welcome these two marvelous athletes."

Mayorova, 33, took part in the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, Greece, finishing 40th and has been a top international marathoner for almost a decade, with a best of 2:25:35 set at Chicago in 2003. She could be a strong challenger to race favorite Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia.

Okubo, 27, has a best of 2:35:24 in the marathon, set at the 2010 Nagoya Women's Marathon and is well familiar with the U.S., having trained in Boulder, Colorado in 2003-04. Her last marathon was a sixth-place finish in Honolulu last December.

"These athletes will get a warm welcome here," noted Curl. "We applaud their determination and e ried@hath w@l ins r nd&#;sac&

Seoul International Marathon Ready to Join World's Elite

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The New York City Marathon, one of the most famous and popular races in the world, attracts more than 45,000 runners in the masters category, including 20,000 foreigners.

A U.S. economic think tank says the marathon generates economic effects worth an annual 200 million U.S. dollars, including revenues from flights, hotels, restaurants, souvenir sales and entry fees.

In Korea, the 82nd Dong-A Seoul International Marathon, jointly sponsored by Korea Association of Athletics Federations and The Dong-A Ilbo and slated to open March 20, is also hoped to reap huge economic effects.

The number of foreign competitors has topped 1,000 for the first time at 1,147 from 35 countries, including 451 from Japan, 265 from the U.S., and 207 from China. Though the number of foreigners remains small compared to that of the New York race, the Dong-A marathon spanning the Korean capital of Seoul has started to earn global recognition.

The Dong-A marathon is the best known race of its kind in Korea. Starting in 1931, it was a catalyst for easing the Korean people's anger and sorrow stemming from the yoke of Japanese colonial rule, and has conveyed the dreams and a message of hope to the Korean people.  

The race is also called the birthplace of Korean marathon records as 10 of the country's 28 records in the sport were set there. The 1994 event also introduced for the first time in Korea the masters category that allowed amateurs to join, spearheading a grassroots boom in the marathon.  

The event's venue was permanently changed to Seoul in 2000 from Seoul, Chuncheon in Gangwon Province and Gyeongju in South Gyeongsang Province. The competition has also invited world-renowned runners with times in the range of two hours and four or five minutes, including those from Kenya and Ethiopia.  

Sylvester Teimet of Kenya set a record for Korean marathons last year with a winning time of 2:06:49. The Dong-A Marathon received Korea's first "gold" label certificate from the International Association of Athletics Federations last year and will be gold label this year, too.  

With more than 1,000 foreign runners, the marathon is hoped to join the ranks of prominent global marathons. Marketing efforts will seek to raise the number of foreign runners in the masters category.

For more information on the Seoul International Marathon, go to:

Backbreaking the Record: Marathon Runner Tony Stafford and His Attempt To Shatter a World Record

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BOULDER, COLO. - Kelty, backpack innovator since 1952, will sponsor marathon runner Tony Stafford as he attempts to break the 20-year old world record for running a marathon while carrying a 40-pound pack. Stafford's attempt aims to benefit Outdoor Mindset, a Boulder, Colo.-based non-profit working to unite and inspire those facing neurological challenges.  

Working with Stafford to select and fit a pack that will enable him to reach his goal, Kelty is proud to lend their support to such a worthwhile endeavor while helping to support Outdoor Mindset. Further, Stafford's Kelty pack will be loaded with 40-pounds of non-perishable food to be donated to the Community Action Agency Food Bank, New Mexico's largest.

"When Tony approached us with his idea, we decided right away it was something we wanted to be involved with," said Sue Timbo, marketing director for Kelty. "This is a great opportunity to help a local athlete support a local non-profit. Everybody wins in this situation."

Stafford will make his attempt during the Bataan Memorial Death March, an annual event honoring World War II veterans who served in the Philippines. This year's event is scheduled for March 27 and takes place at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The 26.2 mile course will wind its way though the desert where hilly terrain and loose sand will add to the challenge.

"I'm very excited for the opportunity to try and set a world record while drawing much needed attention and funding for Outdoor Mindset," said Stafford. "I'm also looking forward to working with Kelty. Their reputation for creating first-in-class packs gives me confidence that I'll have the equipment I will need to achieve my goal."

The current world record stands at 4hr 42min 44sec and was set in 1991 during the London Marathon. Stafford is on track to set the new record below 4 hours.

Adding to the world record-setting excitement is a second marathoner with a similar goal. England's Lee Riley will also attempt to break the current record by running the London Marathon with a 40-pound pack on April 17, 2011, three weeks after Stafford's attempt.

To learn more about the Bataan Memorial Death March, please visit To support Stafford and his fund raising effort for Outdoor Mindset, please visit  

KELTY is based in Boulder, Colorado, and uses the natural backdrop of the Rocky Mountains to test, create and continually innovate within their diverse outdoor product families of Backcountry, Trail, Vintage, Lighting, Basecamp and KIDS. Kelty combines the best in new technology with a healthy dose of common sense to create exceptionally made, affordably priced outdoor products. For more information on Kelty, please go to, or call 800.423.2320.