Inaugural Route 66 Marathon A Success

Sunday, November 19th 2006, 3:30 pm
By: News On 6

Runners from around the world gather in Tulsa for the first-ever Route 66 marathon.

Downtown Tulsa was shut down as more than 3,000 runners competed in the half-marathon and full marathon races.

News on 6 reporter Chris Wright has more on the inaugural event.

The Route 66 marathon attracted runners from around the world for the 13-mile half marathon, and 26-mile full marathon. Organizers hope it will become an annual event that showcases the entire city.

The cars that many associate with Route 66 were on display near the finish line of the race, but the "Mother Road" belonged to runners on Sunday.

3,000 of them wound their way through a course that started in downtown Tulsa and took runners along historic Route 66.

Organizers began planning Tulsa's first-ever marathon last July, and say it turned out better than expected.

"It feels good to have our plans come together. We have a beautiful day, perfect for runners, beautiful course, everyone's come together and it just couldn't be any better, we're thrilled," said Chris Lieberman, Event Director.

The field included runners from around the country, as well as Japan, Netherlands, Ireland and Canada. In fact, only half of the runners hailed from Oklahoma.

Toby Taylor flew in from New York to run with his brother, Bartlesville native Greg Taylor.

"It's great to run with my brother, and to finish together it was just awesome," said Greg. "He made me push it the last way, he about killed me. I wanted to coast in, but he pushed me," Toby said.

Other runners say they were also pushed by the course, which took them all the way to the Riverwalk Crossing in Jenks before coming back to finish at 6th & Main in downtown Tulsa.

"It's fun now. It's kind of grueling, but it's fun, it's worth it," said runner Jim Brown.

And organizers feel Tulsa proved it is capable of hosting a big time running event. "We've showed people from around the world that we can host a world class sporting event," Lieberman said.

The winners of the full marathon were 27-year-old Chris McClure of Oklahoma City, and 29 year old Jessica Tranchina of Tulsa.