Archive for Monday, November 17, 2008

Annual half-marathon falls victim to economy

A traditional Lawrence running event falls victim to the nation's economic downturn.

November 17, 2008


A Lawrence running event has fallen victim to the nation’s economic downturn.

The Lawrence Half-Marathon and 5K run benefit held annually in April has been canceled, according to Steve Riley, who along with his wife, Marcia, have organized the event, previously the Raintree Run, for several years. A lack of sponsors and concern that there would be fewer runners led to the cancellation, he said.

“The sponsor money was going to be down. It just wasn’t coming in,” Riley said.

Last year about 2,000 runners participated in the event, which raised $58,000 for the beneficiary, Health Care Access Clinic. TherapyWorks was the title sponsor and there were several co-sponsors. A title sponsor for 2009 had not been named.

“We’d already asked sponsors and some said they couldn’t do it,” Riley said. “Some of them we haven’t heard from. We’ve gotten some sponsor money but we’re sending it back to them.”

The 2009 event was to have 19 beneficiaries. In return, those organizations and groups were to provide the 450 to 500 volunteers the Rileys needed to help them put on the runs. Getting those volunteers also could be difficult, Riley said.

In past years, the city of Lawrence provided police, fire and medical assistance. But the city is tightening its belt and Riley said he was afraid that this time he’d have to come up with several thousand dollars to pay for that assistance. There also is the cost of paying for medals and cash prizes for some winning entries, he said.

“We didn’t want to cheapen the race and still have it, and you can’t cut corners with police, fire and medical,” Riley said. “We got to thinking that it’s just better that we do not do it for a year and see what happens next year.”

The event was renamed the Lawrence Half-Marathon and 5K in 2007. The Raintree Run began in the mid-1990s.


persevering_gal 9 years, 2 months ago

This stinks! I was really looking forward to running the 5k in April. There's no way to ask the community for donations? I didn't even know that people could donate for the 5k. Go ask Joe College downtown...he has a 1.3 million dollar house according to LJWorld! He can make up our t-shirts too!

lance1jhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Wow... Just because you fat slobs can't pull yourselves away from your computer or tv or out of your obese fat selves i.e. JackRipper don't knock what you can not do.

Bassetlover 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope this is not a huge over-reaction on the part of the organizers. Yes, some sponsorships will be down. But I believe the majority of participants don't give a hoot about the t-shirt or the medals and would do anything they could to raise money for the clinic. I don't see how Health Care Access can make up the void this will cause in their budget. Sad!!!

rooga 9 years, 2 months ago

How about the community put together a "SAVE THE LAWRENCE HALF MARATHON BENEFIT 5K"? Anyone wanna help organize it!? Dont let this event die!!!

Jennifer Nigro 9 years, 2 months ago

Bassetlover--Don't start crying over Health Care Access yet-- they decided they didn't want to do the work to benefit from the event and pulled out. 19 other organizations were willing to do that work, but as the article said, the sponsorships just aren't there. And for all of you who think it's just about the t-shirt, I'm sure many runners would forgo a t-shirt for the sake of their overstuffed t-shirt drawer-- I know I would. But look at the back of those race t's and notice how many business names are on there. They give to an event, they get their name out there-- that's how it works. Who can dispute that? Nobody does anything for nothing-- not even the most good-hearted volunteer-- and no one benefits from a service without giving something up. That's life.

persevering_gal 9 years, 2 months ago

I could really care less about the medals or the t-shirts. I just love the Lawrence Half Marathon! It's for a great cause, and it's an overall fun day! I would love to have a benefit to help this wonderful event!

countrygirl 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm afraid that our local organizations that rely on donations and fundraisers are really going to suffer. I was in ECKAN yesterday dropping off money that had been rasied through a bake sale and lunch for them, and they're really struggling just to keep the food pantry stocked. They've had way more applications for holiday assistance than in previous years and they don't have enough people to adopt all the families. The folks at ECKAN are trying to do the best they can with the resources they have, but they could really use some help.

Isaias Shannon 9 years, 2 months ago

Before everyone jumps in feeling sorry for the organizers and praising this event, consider that this is the 2nd beneficiary that has has walked away from this event in recent years - to give up that kind of money says something about how difficult and time consuming that working with this event and the family who organizes it (i.e.not worth it!). I am betting that the sponsors who are not pitching in this year feel the same. The organizers make money from this event also (whoever said that people don't do something for nothing was correct!) and anyone who has worked with them can tell you that they are not in this solely to benefit the community etc. I for one, am not sad to see it go. There are MANY races and events in this area that are better quality, better organized, and MUCH more fun.

fabian_zimbabwe 9 years, 2 months ago

Violet, you have not a single clue as to what you are talking about. I have personally known the Rileys for 14 years and I can tell you that the number of hours they put into planning this event amounts to a number far too high for you to count. You couldn't begin to hope to understand what they contribute to this event and to this community.Better quality and better organized? An inspiring tour of Lawrence on a beautiful Sunday morning, complete with a finish-line food spread that not even the Boston or Chicago marathons can even rival, not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars they have raised for area charities.You have some serious audacity to fire off a litany of inaccuracies about an event of which you clearly know nothing about.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 2 months ago

500 volunteers is hard to find for anything on any weekend day. That is just an amazingly high number. Wow. No wonder.And if the Fire and Police were hinting they would start charging???...... well, that reminds me that they had been blackmailing the Wakarusa festival for years....the only place in the state where this has been happening to this degree for a local music festival.Tell Judy Billings she ought to move this problem to the top of her list, or other events will be run out of Lawrence too.

runner2772 9 years, 2 months ago

Violet what are you talking about the food might have been good for the people who ran the 5k or the families. They had all the food out for EVERYONE to enjoy so those of us who ran the half marathon (and weren't super slow, 2 hours) didn't have ANY food other than the junk cookies. The Rock n Roll marathons and half marathons, now there is a food spread! And the organizers didn't take negitive feedback well at ALL. I hope they keep this event but find someone who is more organized to run it.

Matt Schwartz 9 years, 2 months ago

g rock , you could donate your race money and then run around town for a little's that sound?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.