Talk about giving someone a run for their money, organizers of the Route 66 Marathon presented the Tulsa Area United Way with a check for $24,000 Wednesday. It's money they raised during the first-ever Route 66 Marathon in November.
News On 6 reporter Steve Berg reports the money donated is just one sign of a very successful marathon.
Because organizers had never tried it in Tulsa before, Jack Wing says he kept his hopes for Tulsa's first big-time marathon small. "Y'know in my experience putting on race and stuff, I thought man if we get 1,500, I'll be happy." So he was ecstatic when 3,000 people entered the race. "They came from every state, 3 different countries, and 45 percent of the runners came from outside of Oklahoma, which is really fantastic."
Those out-of-state runners not only saw 26.2 miles of some of Tulsaâ€™s better scenery. They also spent money in hotels and restaurants. It's good for tourism and for the city's reputation overall according to Jack Wing. "Y'know if you look on marathonguide.com and all the comments that people made, 99-percent of there are all positive stuff."
The race also generated a hefty donation for charity. The Route 66 Marathon presented a check for $24,000 to the Tulsa Area United Way. Wing says they earned it. "We needed a lot of volunteers to put on a marathon, and they gave us 500 volunteers. So today we presented them with a check for $24,000, which was really incredible. It was a great experience for both organizations." President of the Tulsa Area United Way Kathleen Coan says, "we'll be able to do wonderful, wonderful things for the people in our community with this money."
Jack Wing says they're in this for the long run and they are already planning for the next Route 66 Marathon in November. He says they will be tweaking the course to get rid of the final hill that rubbed some runners the wrong way and finish instead down 18th Street toward Veteran's Park. "And now you're going to finish downhill coming up 18th, which is still tough on the legs, but it's still not going to be as bad as finishing that last mile-and-a-half uphill," says Jack Wing.
November's course will also feature more stretches of Brookside and Cherry Street. Wing says they want to give out-of-towners a look at some of the city's most scenic neighborhoods.
To find out what runners said about Tulsa, check out www.marathonguide.com