SBD/November 4, 2011/Events and Attractions

ING N.Y. Marathon Could Expand To A Two-Day Event As Number Of Runners Increases

Sunday's marathon will set a record with 47,000 runners competing in the race
N.Y. Road Runners President & CEO Mary Wittenberg said that the ING N.Y. Marathon population "will only continue to increase, and she foresees a day when the marathon may expand to a two-day event that accepts as many as 100,000 applicants," according to Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The race, which began in '70 with 127 runners, will set a "record on Sunday in the 47,000-runner range." Wittenberg said, "We could run on Saturday and Sunday. The demand is there. When I started, there was a feeling that the marathon absolutely can’t grow anymore. But I don’t think growth is capped. People desperately want to run this race." Bondy noted should the marathon expand to two days, "same-gender, elite runners would still all race on the same day, so that different weather conditions did not skew results." Logistics and safety "are always concerns, yet marathon organizers are convinced they’ve conquered most of the problems that limited participation in the past." The race now "has three separate, staggered starts, two waves on the upper deck" of Verrazano Bridge and one on the lower. Wittenberg said, "It’s like three races of 16,000 each." Nearly half the runners "are transported to the start by the Staten Island ferry, instead of requiring buses or private transportation, creating traffic and people jams." But Wittenberg said that the "number of complaints she receives from runners, on all matters, has decreased sharply over the past few years" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/3). 

COMPETITOR IN ITS MIDST: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fred Dreier notes Competitor Group, which runs the Rock 'n' Roll Series long distance running events, "has its sights squarely on New York City, as it plans to expand the Brooklyn 10K into a half marathon within two years, with the long-term goal of holding a major full-length Rock ’n’ Roll marathon in the borough." Falconhead Capital Chair & CEO David Moross, whose company owns Competitor, said, "We believe a second New York City marathon is absolutely achievable." Moross "declined to give a time frame for holding a marathon." Dreier notes with "deep political connections, NYRR is revered for its sizable contributions to charity." But Moross and others within the running business believe that NYRR "holds a monopoly within New York City." Wittenberg "does not support an additional marathon in the city." She said that the addition "could dilute the economic and charitable impact of the ING marathon." She also "believes that NYRR’s altruistic motivation separates it from Competitor" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/31 issue).
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