The 2015 Frederick Running Festival’s main attraction on Sunday wrapped up another successful weekend for this annual local event. Thousands participated in the festival’s four events, including an army of volunteers without whom this popular weekend would not be possible.
What started as the Frederick Marathon in 2003 has evolved over the years from a single Sunday morning event to four separate races over the festival weekend, making way for a greater number and variety of runners to take part.
Those who have followed this event from its inception in 2003 will recall that participants that year faced rain, sleet and snow. That inaugural marathon was run in March, and the wintry conditions convinced organizers that May would be a more temperate choice. That’s only one of the many changes the event has undergone over the years. That’s no surprise. Sometimes only experience can reveal all of the problems of a situation and all of the benefits that changes can bring.
In 2010, only about 700 runners completed the grueling 26.2-mile marathon; many who started the race fell victim to the course layout and 80-degree heat.
Some might suggest that the event devolved in 2011, when the full marathon was dropped from the lineup. But the half marathon and three other events now more than fill the bill by engendering greater interest and wider participation in the festival’s multiple offerings. This year’s half marathon alone included some 5,000 runners.
This is a great weekend festival for Frederick in so many ways. It attracts runners and spectators from outside the town, county and state. As related in Frederick News-Post business reporter Ed Waters’ Saturday story, it is also a terrific economic boon for the local economy. A range of businesses, from hotels to restaurants to shops to gas stations, benefits from the thousands who come to town during the annual weekend festival.
Corrigan Sports Enterprises, which manages the festival, estimated that this year’s event would benefit the local economy to the tune of $3.5 million. That’s just one of the many positives this annual sports weekend holds for the community.
The large, diverse team that makes all this happen includes the event’s professional organizers, the Frederick Police Department and a veritable small army of volunteers. These sports enthusiasts and community supporters are indispensable to the success of the weekend’s events. Janet Novak, Corrigan’s community resource director, has been the coordinator of race volunteers since her company began managing the festival in 2007, and knows how invaluable the volunteer force is: “We cannot have a race, we cannot do an event, without our volunteers. That is regardless of what they do, whether it is giving our cups of water out on the course, or cutting the orange at the finish, we could not do it without them.”
We cannot begin to mention and thank even all of the key volunteers who made this latest running festival weekend a success. As the old expression goes, “You know who you are.”
As we have noted in previous editorials, Frederick has in recent decades become a destination for visitors who anticipate coming to town for the many and varied annual events that now dot the local calendar. The Frederick Running Festival is among those success stories. To all who participated in this year’s events or whose efforts helped make them possible, we say “Well done!”