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Record Participation in 2009 Memorial Marathon Leads To Record Donation to Oklahoma City National Memorial

Date: 
07/14/2009 - 16:54

okc_marathon.jpgOKLAHOMA CITY – A check for $450,000, the largest amount given to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon’s nine-year history, was presented to the Memorial and Museum today.

Each year, 20 volunteer chairmen plan, coordinate and implement the marathon weekend’s events and oversee a volunteer corps of more than 6,000 stretched across the 26.2-mile course. This year’s marathon hosted 19,300 runners, up 21% from the 2008 race, with runners from 49 states and seven foreign countries. All five 2009 marathon events sold out before the Health and Fitness Expo closed. The Memorial Marathon has been hailed by Runner’s World magazine as one of the 12 “Must Run” marathons in the world.

“The Memorial and Museum is a private non-profit, and each year the gift the Marathon makes impacts greatly our ability to operate and maintain the site and museum. Thomas Hill and Chet Collier, in founding and managing the Marathon continue to inspire us. The involvement and dedication of the corporate sponsors, volunteer chairs and the corps of more than 6,000 volunteers is incredible. Their efforts help us continue our mission of remembrance and hope,” said Kari F. Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum executive director. “The Marathon and the runners who choose to participate in it each year have become ambassadors to show the world that the spirit of a nation would not be defeated.”

The marathon was conceptualized by local businessmen Thomas and David Hill and Chet Collier, who initially created the outline for this inspiring event while out on a morning run. Knowing the Memorial and Museum do not receive annual federal, state or local government funding to operate, they thought a marathon could help provide some funding to support the Memorial. Since the first race in 2000, more than $1.45 million has been raised through the annual marathon to support the Memorial and its programs.

In addition to the contributions made to the Memorial, a 2007 study conducted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce found the race contributed an estimated $4.8 million in economic impact to Oklahoma City over the three days events were held.

Marathon runner Rui Guinaraes of New York had this to say about the 2009 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. “Awesome is a word overused and misused, but I mean it when I say the people and the crowds were worthy of awe. Everyone had cheers and smiles. The people at the water stations were friendly and yelled and encouraged us when we were fighting the wind. The opening ceremony was especially touching and the singing of the national anthem and the moment of silence in honor of those killed in the bombing was incredible; you could hear a pin drop in a crowd of 19,000 total runners. Incredible. Overall this was a great marathon and OKC proved to be a great host city.”

The mission of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor their memories and unite the world in hope. Registration for the 2010 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon opens September 7, 2009, at www.okcmarathon.com.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was created to honor “those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever” by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected.

For more information on the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, visit www.okcmarathon.com. For more information on the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, call 405.235.3313 or visit www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org.

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