Colts partner with Rock n Roll Marathon promoter to host race

June 20, 2013
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The Indianapolis Colts are preparing to join the running boom. Or is it running boom 2.0?  

Either way, Colts officials are taking a cue from NFL executives in New York who have asked its teams to become more involved in fitness initiatives in general and suggested hosting preseason running events in particular.

The Colts Back to Football Run will be held Aug. 24—the morning of the team’s preseason home game vs. Cleveland—and will finish on the 50-yard line of Lucas Oil Stadium. A tailgate party at the stadium will follow the five-kilometer race.

The league is taking such happenings seriously and is sending members of its events department to Indianapolis to help oversee the race and associated happenings. California-based Competitor Group, which operates the massive Rock n Roll Marathon Series, has been hired to operate the Indianapolis run.

League officials in the spring of 2012 started asking teams to consider conducting running events that finish at or inside the stadium as a way to kick off the season, and draw fans closer to the team and NFL game while promoting health and fitness. The NFL emphasized that the events could also open another sponsorship opportunity for participating teams.

Competitor Group, which is operating several other races put on by NFL teams, is building a model with league approval that offers national sponsorship opportunities, and plans to use its national racing database and its specialty publications including Triathlete and Velo News to promote its events.

Last August, five teams—New York, Tennessee, San Diego, St. Louis and New Orleans—joined the race, hosting fitness events and runs, with all but New York ending inside their stadiums.

Teams have been creative, many lining the finishing stretch with their cheerleaders and team mascots. Some of the runners finishing on the Titans field were handed a football shortly before the finish line.

This year, the Colts have joined the craze, becoming one of 12 teams this preseason to host a running event. Next year, NFL officials hope all 32 teams will sponsor preseason running events.

Competitor Group helped the NFL operate events in Tennessee, San Diego, St. Louis and New Orleans last year. The New York Road Runners, which help operate the New York City Marathon, operated the Giants’ event.

How runners will enter Lucas Oil Stadium is still being worked out, said Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward. One option is through the southwest entrance. Another is through the main gate at the north end of the stadium and down a flight of stairs to the field for the finish.

Team officials hope to attract 2,000 to 3,000 participants to the inaugural run, which is sponsored by Indiana University Health. Part of the proceeds will go to the American Heart Association.

“This is all about promoting health and fitness and is closely related to our Play 60 initiative. It’s part of our overall community outreach,” Ward said. “We think it’s going to be a real popular event and one that could grow in years to come.”

The NFL is promoting the league-wide race series through NFLrunseries.com, and the Colts plan to market the local event through the team’s website and social media.

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  • Why not local
    Why use an out of town company to produce a local running event? There are excellent resources here, Don Carr of Tuxedo Brothers has been producing events locally for 20 years, serving the community.
    • Outsourcing
      Don't you know that outsourcing is the American Way nowadays?
    • NFL
      When it comes to stuff like this the league micro-manages everything. That's why most things in the NFL are generic and canned. They leave very little room for local flavor. Look at the fan bases of Soccer in Europe. They have far more character and local color and flavor.
      • ????
        What is "Soccer"?
      • Supporting AHA
        I appreciate that the Colts are supporting the American Heart Association by donating part of the proceeds from this event. Their donation will fund more lifesaving research and educational efforts, helping to stamp out this deadly disease which is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in our community.
      • what?
        Gary Bo, do u mean like the Super Bowl?? I thought it had plenty of local flavor when Indy hosted!
      • Local race promoters
        In terms of local race/event promoters, I'd go with Ken Long over Don Carr and Tuxedo Brothers. But you really can't compare those two operations with a national player like Competitor Group. Its reach is greater its organization is much bigger.

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