SBD/April 18, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Runner's World Publisher Molly O'Keefe Talks About This Year's Boston Marathon

O'Keefe as part of the challenge has run for over 300 consecutive days
Rodale's Runner's World Publisher MOLLY O'KEEFE took up a challenge the magazine put to its readers last year to run on consecutive days for several months. She is still going, having built her count up to 309 straight days as of a recent conversation. As any runner knows, running can be compulsive and can define who you are. That participatory passion fueled for Runner’s World a print ad revenue increase of 4% last year. With the Boston Marathon coming Monday, the first since last year’s bombings, the magazine has been busy putting together its Marathon issue and related digital effort. O’Keefe spoke recently with SportsBusiness Journal.

About the coming Marathon issue: We look back over this past year, how running has changed and impacted people. At the core, runners are people who want to help, want to be supportive. We find human-interest stories behind that.

Being in Boston: I was (there) the day before (last year) and had just left to head to a cycling event. ... Definitely (attending this year). ... I have my family coming in as well.

Ad interest in this year’s Marathon issue: Heightened interest for sure ... but we wouldn’t use Boston to sell into the magazine.

Monthly publications in a digital world: From a Runner’s World perspective and a brand, we want to be where everybody is and feel print is still a tool our readers want to be engaged in. ... For real-time news, we use digital and Facebook.

Prospects of going all-digital: No, because of what we do and the beauty of print to be really able to, through time and distance, allow us to reflect back and have what print does best, and that can be more useful finding human-interest stories of running.

Impact of increased event security: If you look back at New York (for last fall’s marathon there), I did notice more of a perimeter around the finish line; they didn’t allow a lot of extra people at the finish line. ... I find that comforting.
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