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Delaware Marathon Running Festival to Celebrate 15th Anniversary

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Being a “lacrosse and basketball guy” did not prevent Lee Corrigan from presiding over some of the nation’s largest running festivals.

He is currently the president of Corrigan Sports Enterprises (CSE), based in Elkridge, Md., which operates the Baltimore Marathon & Running Festival, the Frederick Running Festival and the Oakland (Ca.) Running Festival. In 2016, the company took over the Delaware Marathon Running Festival.

The Delaware Marathon Running Festival, which includes the Delaware Marathon, the Delaware Half Marathon, a four-person marathon relay race, a Twilight 5K and a kids’ fun run, is set to celebrate its 15th anniversary, when the festival kicks off on Saturday, April 28.

Corrigan discusses the impact the event has on the city and what racers can expect later this month.

 

How did you get involved in the race and eventually take over and purchase the big festival?

Well, the former owner, Wayne [Kursh] from Races2Run, felt like it had kind of overwhelmed him a bit and he really needed to have somebody else take it over so he could focus on some of his smaller stuff. The time effort and physical man power effort is pretty significant to put on a whole marathon running festival. […] We were strategically looking at it as a business. We were very strong here in the Baltimore-Washington area, so [the Delaware Marathon] would give us a great little entry into Philadelphia. We were feeling that we could get some of the Delaware people to come run the Baltimore events that we do and then that we could get some of the Baltimore people to come do the Delaware events.

 

How would you evaluate the first year of your group running it?

It went very smoothly, I would say. We unfortunately had some horrible weather leading up to the event. All day Friday and all day Saturday it rained cats and dogs. We had our packet pickup in the park in a big tent and that just made it really difficult. It was really cruddy and unseasonably cold as well.

 

What changes can participants expect?

We actually have an indoor packet pick up. When we took it over from when Wayne had it, we eliminated the eight-person relay. We added on Saturday night and a 5k. The idea there is that we know from doing some of our other events that have a great gateway into our event for amateur runners. They all come out and we try to make it a party Saturday night right there at that beautiful Harriet Tubman Park.

 

What was your group’s thinking behind pushing the race date up a bit?

Wayne had that date for years, Mother’s Day. And he did a pretty good job to embrace it. We’ve actually had events on Mother’s Day before and we discovered it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge not only for mothers, but volunteers—everyone is doing something with mom later that day, of course.

 

Are there any races in the Delaware area, whether it’s Rehoboth or Caesar Rodney that you see as competition?

Yeah, without a doubt. Obviously the Caesar Rodney [half marathon] is something that has been around for years and it’s kind of an entity of it’s own, so we pay attention to that. But I think there is certainly room for both of us in that market. And down at the beach, yes, no question about it, that is one of our primary competitors, so we obviously need to look at them.

 

There was a study from Kent State University that said the Delaware Marathon brought in a $2.3 million impact to the Wilmington area. How is that number determined?

Yes, we do those studies all the time. We have a group at Towson University that has an economic impact think tank and really what they do is they have a little formula. We provide our registration list and then they take every person that’s registered and assign a different value to the person based on where they’re from. Somebody that comes to the Delaware events from New York City—they’re taking the train, they’re staying in a hotel, they’re feeding themselves—so that’s how all of those economic study efforts work. I would assume based on what I know about the Baltimore Marathon & Running Festival, the Frederick Running Festival and the Oakland (Ca.) Running Festival that two million [dollars] is pretty good. It all does have to do with where your runners are coming from.


More information:

The Delaware Marathon Running Festival begins Saturday, April 28 with the kids’ fun run at 5 p.m. and the Twilight 5K at 6 p.m. The full and half-marathon begin simultaneously at 7 a.m. on Sunday, April 29. The four-person relay race begins at 7:10 a.m.

The start and finish is at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park. Marathoners complete two laps of the half-marathon course.

Runners can register for all four events here.

Cost:

  • Kids’ fun run: $15
  • Twilight 5K: $50 through April 27 and $55 the day of
  • Half-marathon: $115 through April 27 and $125 the day
  • Full marathon: $130 through April 27 and $140 the day of
  • Four-person marathon relay: $270 through April 27 and $280 the day of. Discounts are offered to runners who register for multiple races.