The High Point Marathon

Last year was the inaugural run of the North Carolina Marathon, run in Greensboro. It was a great run, well organized and well attended for a first effort. This year, they staged it in High Point, which was a stroke of genius because High Point is totally geared up for thousands of visitors anyway because of the furniture market. It was scheduled for the day after the High Point Internationa Furniture Market officially ended, but continued the excitement and got some good press. I thought it would be a great opportunity to put a team together and get sponsored by one of our furniture suppliers. So I emailed a bunch of my running buddies and got a team of five guys together, including myself. I then sent out my sponsorship proposal to a three of our largest or most preferred furniture and lighting suppliers.
My pitch was this: We would all wear team jerseys with the suppliers logo on it, and being in the center of High Point, running as a team, we would be very noticeable. It would be a great form of guerilla marketing. I was delighted when Currey and Company, one of our absolute favorite suppliers, stepped up to the plate and agreed to support the team. Team members included Ted (Frank), whom I run with almost every weekend, Bobby Christansen, Ron Hall, and a surprise fourth member, Ultra-runner extraordinaire Charlie Engle. Charlie is best known for his epic run across the Sahara Desert last year, documented in the newly released film "Running the Sahara". It was an honor to have him on the team, and we sent out a press release announcing the team and our sponsorship.
Race Day, May 2, came up quickly, and Ted and I drove up (we had to leave at 4 am) to meet the guys, get registered, and get some pictures taken. Unfortunately, I was not going to run because of an injury, but it would be fun crewing for the team and watching everyone run.
Sonny Koontz, CEO of Currey and a great guy with loads of furniture industry experience, showed up that morning too and got to meet his team. He is shown here at left, with myself, Ted, and Ron. We are all wearing our snazzy singlets I had made, with the Currey logo. I did not feel it was appropriate to promote Carolina Rustica, since we weren't paying for anything. Next year, however, I will sponsor a team. In any case, it was beautiful we, boding well for the race, and the High Point organization did an outstanding job of organizing the race (both before and after).
The race itself weaved through the center of High Point, passing all of the showrooms, and then up in a northerly direction across one of the lakes. I was able to follow our team pretty well, parking every 5 to 8 miles and running with the guys for a little bit. It was actually a lot of fun crewing for the team. At mile 19, it had gotten pretty humid, and a light rain began falling, offering a cool reprieve.
What I have not mentioned is that Charlie and Bobby were actually on their second marathon
of the day. They are ultra runners, and had started their first loop of the 26-mile course at 2 or 3 am. And amazingly, they both looked great, even at mile 46 (mile 20 for the rest of the mortals). I ran in with Ted from mile 23 on, and could sympathize with how he was feeling at that point, being a veteran of over 50 marathons or ultras myself.
The race finish was exciting, full of music and cheers, with lots of great crowd and race support.
Our Currey and Co. team looked pretty impressive (if I may say so) when we gathered at the finish. We were the only ones in team shirts, but I'm willing to be we may see more of that next year. There was plenty of food afterwards, and I talked to lots of folks I have met from previous races. I drove back with Ted in the early afternoon and then got changed and took Claire to her Bethel Elementary "Fun Day". It was hot and I was exhausted, but she enjoyed the inflatable rides, and it was for the PTO after all.
My hat off to the race organizers and the city of High Point for an outstanding job, and thank-you to Currey and Company for sponsorship of our team!