October 23, 2009: The 40th running of the ING New York Marathon is scheduled for Nov. 1, but organizers and marketing partners are not waiting until then to get their race gear on. Such official marathon companies as Asics, Poland Spring and Continental already have activated behind the event, and a bevy of others are ready to cover New York with advertising and experiential campaigns in the week leading up to Nov. 1.
In conjunction with the marathon, Asics America opened its first U.S.-based retail store on Oct. 23 in New York. The 1,100-square-foot store hosts an opening weekend of festivities such as pro athlete guest appearances, in-store promotions including a grand prize trip give-away and a "fun run" through the city.
"Despite a down economy, Asics America is still seeing significant growth in sales," Rich Bourne, president and CFO for Asics America, said in a statement. "New York is an active city in the running community which ASICS has long been a part of through our support of the ING New York City Marathon. We feel this is the perfect time and place to mark our debut as a retailer in the U.S."
Asics said its first stand-alone retail outlet in the U.S. , which joins previously opened locations in London and Tokyo, would stock running specific merchandise including footwear and apparel. A main attraction in the store will be the proprietary Foot ID system, which includes a 3D scan of the foot along with gait analysis to help consumers determine the best shoe for their foot and running style.
A series of support ads offers perspectives from each for New York City's five boroughs, through which the marathon will traverse, such as, "Hello Brooklyn. Goodbye Doubt" and "Hello, Staten Island. Goodbye Good Enough."
A shoe company in a different category, Rockport, will actually showcase its new DresSports dress shoes during the marathon by having a team of runners wear them. The squad will beled by Andy Baldwin, who appeared in the 10th season of “The Bachelor." Rockport said its DresSports weighs less than the average running shoe. Four of the participants in Team Rockport will be running for ING’s “Run for Something Better” program through the Orange Laces campaign as a tie-in to a fundraising collaboration between ING and Rockport during the 2009 NYC Marathon weekend.
Among other activations, Continental Airlines will sponsor on Oct. 31 the International Friendship Run, which will take place between the United Nations and Central Park. That night Poland Springs will sponsor the Marathon Fireworks, taking place over Manhattan. Continental also is holding a "OnePass" online auction in which flyers can use their accrued miles from the carrier to bid on such items as autographed memorabilia, tickets to NFL games and tickets to Broadway shows.
Coors Light is supporting a "Race to Refreshment' promotion through Nov. 8, which offers consumers of legal-drinking-age the to complete a 26.2 mile course over which they can collect stickers from participating retailers and the opportunity to win a gold medal; and Toyota is offering consumers the chance to win a 2010 Prius by picking the top finisher in both the men's and women's ING NYC Marathon, as well as items from Asics and Timex.
All sponsors will participate in the ING New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo at Jacob Javits Convention Center the weekend of the event, and many also have either unveiled or will unveil outdoor, print and/or TV spots to support.
More than 6,000 runners representing more than 75 charities with try to raise $21 million at the 2009 ING NYC Marathon 2009, which would be an all-time high for the race. Last year, $18.9 million was raised for the 41 charities included in the official New York Road Runners-managed charity program, and since the program's inception in 2006, nearly $50 million has been raised. NYRR also joined the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, a marathon charity since 2006, in announcing that Matthew Reeve, son of the late Christopher Reeve, will run this year's marathon as a part of Team Reeve to support spinal cord research. Reeve will be running in his first marathon.
"Raising money for charities to make a difference in the lives of so many is important to our organization," Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of NYRR and race director of the ING New York City Marathon, said in a statement. "It is our priority to help charities use the platform of the marathon to raise money at a time when it's a challenge."
NBC Sports will televise the 2009 ING New York City Marathon on at 2 PM EST and The New York Times will have a special race results insert on Nov. 2.
Principal sponsors are: Asics, Foot Locker, Continental Airlines, Toyota and Timex.
Signature and supporting sponsors are: Andalucia, Barilla, BP, Coors Light, Dunkin' Donuts, Emerald Nuts, The Food Emporium, Garmin , Gatorade Endurance Formula, Grana Padano, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York Apple Association, Poland Spring Brand Natural Spring Water, PowerBar/PowerBar Gel, Runner's World, Sports Illustrated, Tiffany & Co., Time Warner Cable, Toyota and UPS.
The 41st running of the ING New York City Marathon will take place on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010.