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Sports Business

Monumental Marathon acquires rival event in Lawrence, changes coming

September 17, 2015
KEYWORDS Sports Business

After this fall the Indianapolis Marathon will be dead.

But the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon lives on.


That confusion is what Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Executive Director Blake Boldon wants to kill.

That’s why the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon recently acquired the Indianapolis Marathon, which begins and ends in Lawrence. The deal was announced Wednesday.

While Monumental Marathon operators will continue the 13.1-mile half marathon and five-kilometer races in Lawrence each October, the full 26.2-mile Indianapolis Marathon run in conjunction with those two shorter events will be scuttled after this year.

The event will be re-branded the Indianapolis Half Marathon.

Indianapolis Marathon founder Joel Sauer has been retained as race director for the October event. Plans are still being made for what the Lawrence event will look and feel like for runners, Boldon said, but he definitely sees some cross-promoting possibilities with the Monumental.

“As a brand, this gives us some interesting marketing opportunities,” Boldon said.

The most important aspect of the deal, Boldon said, is that the Monumental Marathon will own the trademarks and web domains currently held by the Indianapolis Marathon. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

While many locals—especially avid Indy area runners—understand the difference between the two events held here less than a month apart, marathon running has become a destination sport with many runners traveling to various states to compete in the long-distance sojourns.

When out-of-town runners hit the Internet looking for the fastest, best marathons to run, that’s when confusion sets in.

“When people search Indianapolis Marathon on Google, we are not the first result,” Boldon said. “We think that led to some confusion. We want to own the proper noun Indianapolis Marathon. We want to be the Indianapolis marathon. There’s value in that alone.”

As part of the deal, the not-for-profit organization that operates the Monumental Marathon will take over the web domain Indianapolismarathon.com Dec. 1.

The November race will continue to be named the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

The Indianapolis Marathon has been held each October for the last two decades in Lawrence, while the now bigger Monumental Marathon, which begins and ends in downtown Indianapolis, is readying for its eighth running Nov. 7.

Boldon is confident that runners will use the half marathon in Lawrence as a trainer for the full Monumental Marathon while others will shoot for running the half at Lawrence and doing another half at the Monumental.

In addition to the full marathon, the Monumental also includes a half marathon and five-kilometer races.

After this year’s Indianapolis Marathon in Lawrence ends, Boldon said registration will be shut down until March 1 while details—including what the race T-shirt will look like—for next year’s event are being worked out.

“We want to understand the identity of the event and retain its strengths,” Boldon said.

Registration for the next year’s Monumental Marathon will open Jan. 1 as always.

The Monumental Marathon has quickly become the state’s largest marathon and Boldon thinks this acquisition will make it even bigger. Last year, the Monumental had 15,200 runners across all three of its races in November: 4,700 in the full marathon; 7,500 were in the half.

Officials for the not-for-profit Monumental Marathon have not ruled out acquiring or launching more events. Last year, the organization launched the Monumental Mile in June.

“It’s not unrealistic to think, maybe not in 2016, but as early as 2017 we could have additional events on the schedule between June and October,” Boldon said. “We want to do everything we can to build fitness in this community.”


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