Marathon cancellation has runners looking elsewhere

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By Jazzy Teen
Listen Up, Lansing 

LANSING-For the past three years, a good indication of spring arrival in Lansing would be the city’s very own annual marathon that stretched through the many streets of downtown Lansing. This spring, however, runners will not be making that 26.2-mile journey and may have to opt for shorter runs locally.

On Feb. 13, race director Dr. Owen Anderson announced the cancellation of the 2015 Lansing Marathon.

“As many of you know, our organization had a number of challenges as we prepared for the 2014 event, and we struggled to achieve the kind of support a race of that magnitude requires to be successful. Our running community deserves a bigger and better event than we were able to fund,” said Anderson through a statement on his website.

Lansing Marathon's starting line location was on East Michigan Avenue overlooking the state's Capitol building.
Lansing Marathon’s starting line location was on East Michigan Avenue overlooking the state’s capitol building.

According to Lansing Marathon’s promotional Facebook page, as of last year the average age of runners and walkers in the events were 37 years old, with the oldest runner being 80. Seven different foreign countries were represented.

The race was the first ever marathon to be held in Lansing and featured other events that shorter distance runners could enjoy such as a half-marathon, Ekiden Relay, Expo, 5K, and 1.5K Kids Race.

With a variety of skill level accepted during this event, at what loss does this serve to the runners of the Lansing community?

One runner, Jodi South, 47, of Lansing was loyal to the events for all three years.

According to South, she began with the full in 2012, the half in 2013, and completed her best marathon time ever and finished as the top female placer in 2014. South has ran more than 30 runs since 2000 she said, ranging from local 5K races to the Boston Marathon.

“Lansing has a strong running population. I personally like to support local races because I think it is great for our community. This event was good, positive PR and helps businesses, but most importantly encourages healthy living,” said South.

South said what saddened her in regards to the cancellation was its positive impact on health in the community.

When asked about lost opportunities for a marathon length run in Lansing, South mentioned that another Lansing marathon, the Capital City River Run, takes place in the fall for those interested in longer races.

Fellow runner, Anna Mitterling, of Haslett never participated in the springtime Lansing Marathon, but is fond of the Capital City River Run.

“I love the Capital City River run! I’ve done the half the last three years and it is my favorite event,” said Mitterling.

Playmakers, a footwear and apparel store in Okemos was a huge supporter for the Lansing Marathon in past years. Part owner, Brian Jones said that he had even connected Anderson with Detroit Free Press
Marathon Operations Director Bill Edwig to create the race route.

Jones said that the Lansing Marathon raace was fun and great for the local community, but reassures that the cancellation is not tremendous in regards to opportunities for local runners.

“For a longer race, Capital City Marathon takes place in the fall. But there are a number of smaller races, whether that is a 5K or half, that take place all throughout the year locally, ” said Jones.

Capital City River Run Marathon and Half-Marathon events take place Sept. 19-20. According to the event’s promotional Facebook page, 3,000+ participants are expected for this upcoming year.

The course for Capital City River Run goes through Downtown Lansing, as did the Lansing Marathon, but differs in route. Runners will enjoy the scenery of Potter Park Zoo and Michigan State University Campus.

Playmakers at one time put in great effort to promote the Lansing Marathon, but whether the event had been cancelled or not, they work just as hard to “amp up other races,” said Jones.

The store provides an extensive yearlong event calendar highlighting local events in addition to well-known statewide races like the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City or Detroit Free Press Marathon.

Upcoming local races include Toge’ Go Boge’ 5K in Ovid and Steps to Freedom 5K in Lansing on March 7, Zebra Zoom 5K in Okemos on March 14, and Lucky Feet 5K for Kidney Foundation in East Lansing on March 15.


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