Follow The Republic:
There’s a reason planning committee members announced the Cummins Marathon more than a year in advance.
It’s a lot of work to put together an event that will serve as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
It’s so much work, in fact, that committee member Randy Stafford expects he and his colleagues will need every bit of the 14 months.
“The work done so far is planning just to identify our resources,” he said. “We have a preliminary route picked out, but there’s still a lot to do from start to finish.”
Stafford, a running enthusiast and Cummins employee, who has coordinated the Mill Race Race for 16 years, is helping bring a marathon, half-marathon and 5-kilometer walk to Columbus that could attract thousands of participants from around the country and perhaps the world.
The committee already has hired an event planner, Ken Long of Ken Long and Associates, who is experienced in organizing marathons, Stafford said.
An event planner is a must, not only because of his expertise but because of the contacts he brings that guarantee the event solid exposure in publications to a wide audience.
Long plans 20-25 events a year and has been in the business for 33 years.
He’s planned the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis for six years, with 3,800 participants, and the Indianapolis Women’s Half-Marathon and 5K, which drew 2,400 people last year.
With Cummins’ support, the Columbus event should be first-class, he said.
“Probably the most important thing is that it becomes a community event, which is why they chose a marathon and a 5K, so hopefully that will include a lot of the family members,” Long said.
One of the most important components are the volunteers — medical volunteers, timers, people in charge of water stops, award ceremonies, and the rest and recovery area.
“Knowing Cummins, a lot of the employees are either going to want to participate,” either as a participant or volunteers, Long said.
Columbus Running Club also will provide volunteers and runners.
Laura Chassé, a Cummins Marathon committee member, said volunteers, as well as race participants, probably will have their first chance to register online around October.
“We’re going to keep information coming out on a periodic basis,” she said, adding that the Cummins website eventually will have a link for people to sign up online.
Stafford himself brings another dimension to the organizing effort.
He is the sanction coordinator for the Indiana chapter of USA Track and Field, an organization that certifies certain courses as being legitimate qualifiers for the world famous Boston Marathon.
That means he can set up the course so he knows it will qualify and give people yet another reason to participate.
One requirement is that the course have limited elevation changes to ensure it’s not a “downhill course,” Stafford said. It also has to be measured as a true marathon distance by a certified inspector — in this case Stafford.
A logo is in the works that will highlight the city’s architectural gems participants likely will see as they enter and exit the downtown along the course route, she said.
Chassé said the image probably will feature the event name.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.