Much like participants, the Yuma Territorial Marathon is fast approaching.
The event is in its fourth year and is gaining popularity nationally because of its Boston Marathon qualifying status and relative ease.
“For the serious runners that's obviously the mecca, to get to the Boston Marathon,” said marathon chairman Steve Pallack. “So being a certified Boston qualifying course, that's a great benefit to us to entice people to come run on this course because it's so flat. It's an easier qualifying than a number of other races.”
Runners will start at the Cocopah Casino in Somerton, run down U.S. Highway 95 to San Luis, then turn around and head back to the casino. The only elevation is downhill 74 feet shortly after the casino then back up on the return trip.
Early on, Boston certification was an important element for Pallack in order to attract runners. They had to get certified by the U.S. Track and Field Federation and were certified by a Phoenix organization who was qualified by Boston Athletic Association.
“There's particular hoops that you have to jump through too,” Pallack said. “We wanted to make sure that we had that because obviously here in Yuma you have to have some kind of carrot to bring people in to run.”
That carrot has brought in runners from all over the country including the Biggest Loser 12 winner John Rhode.
“He felt this was a good course, a good situation for him,” Pallack said. “We've had a number of other guys locally that have run in Boston and we've had a tremendous amount of support locally from folks that think it's a good deal.”
According to Pallack participant entries are up 20 to 25 percent compared to last year and they are close to having 400 total entrants between the marathon and half-marathon events.
“One of the advantages we have is that it's on a Saturday,” Pallack said. “A lot of races are run on Sunday, and that's difficult for people's schedules. So having it on a Saturday is another plus for us because folks can bounce in and run the race and not have to be at work the next day.”
Runners can register at Cocopah Casino Resort on Friday, Jan. 25, starting at 4 p.m. For more information visit www.yumamarathon.com.