18,000 runners for Long Beach Marathon presented by Philips Sonicare
October 13, 2023
This weekend the 2023 Long Beach Marathon presented by Philips Sonicare will mark the 39th anniversary of Southern California's classic road race
LONG BEACH/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – As the Director of Partnerships for the 39th annual Long Beach Marathon presented by Philips Sonicare, Phyllis Blanchard sees her job in a much broader scope than selling sponsorships and filling expo booths.
“Our industry is in a real good position right now,” said Blanchard. “We are seeing more runners, more walkers, more joggers. Personal wellbeing has never been more important, people want to do something healthy with friends and family and share those memories with someone. That’s what we’re doing. We’re creating memories, to have the biggest positive impact on those we touch.”
Come Sunday, Blanchard and her team will be creating bucket list memories of a lifetime for more than 18,000 athletes. All three race weekend distances are sold out. With a flat, fast course, 80 percent of it with views of the Pacific Ocean, Southern California’s longest running marathon hit its 3,500 capacity two weeks ago.
Then the Aquarium of the Pacific 5K, the only 5K that runs through an aquarium, reached its 3,000 ceiling, followed by the half-marathon with nearly 10,000 participants.
There are limited walk-up spots available for the Bike Tour, where 1,500 people will participate, some of them finishing, then racking up their bikes and pulling off a duathlon double in the half-marathon.
The fun begins Friday with the Health and Fitness Expo, which will be held outdoors for the first time at Marina Green Park on E. Shoreline Drive. The location is accustomed to speed, being the site of the Grand Prix of Long Beach where IndyCars hit 200 mph.
Come 2:30 pm Friday at the expo, runners will have the opportunity to meet soccer star and Olympic gold medalist Sydney Leroux, in partnership with Philips Sonicare.
The hardy souls taking on the marathon will be treated to a course that takes in the Long Beach Shoreline Marina, the Queensway Bridge, the Queen Mary, another bridge crossover, a view of the Lion Lighthouse. At the race’s crucial late, show-me-some-love, I’m-feeling-the-pain stage, runners will tour the Cal State University Long Beach campus where students annually turnout to support the field.
Reflecting that one of the nation’s busiest port cities is a global destination, runners from 32 countries and 47 states will participate.
For Blanchard, working in the running industry is an extension of a passion dating back to her youth. She was a talented high school runner at Rancho Cotate High in Sonoma County, a Foot Locker Cross Country Championships qualifier and state finalist in the 3,200.
She earned a scholarship to Cal Poly but never ran cross country or track after suffering seven stress fractures in two years.
Of the injuries, she said, “To be honest, that molded me into who I am today. That’s how life is. You go through pain and you have a choice. Do I throw in the towel or say, ‘OK, how is this going to serve me?’ I have a saying I like: Life doesn’t happen to you, it’s what happens for you.”
At Cal Poly, members of the athletic department inspired her to go into sports business. While earning her master’s at Cal State University Long Beach, Blanchard began an internship with Run Racing, then the owner of the marathon.
Now she’s in her 14th year working with the race. While serving her internship she oversaw the running clubs. Hired full time, she helped organize the volunteers and charities.
“You cut your chops, managing a lot of people, dealing with high stress, learning all the activations,” she said.
She jumped into marketing, event management, operations and now is in her role as director of partnerships.
“I’ve been very fortunate, seeing the event from all sides,” she said.
Indicative that road racing is enjoying a post-COVID resurgence, Blanchard has created relationships with 15 brands this year, a race record.
Philips Sonicare is the presenting sponsor and will feature a video board, projecting the runners’ smiles.
“Philips Sonicare, they’re all about empowering smiles,” she said. “The alignment of oral care health and wellness goes hand in hand. You take care of your teeth, you take care of your body, you take care of your mind.”
REI is the race’s retail sponsor and Michelob Ultra the official beer partner.
She works closely with the brands, helping create campaigns, even writing copy.
“I want them to be successful,” she said. “I want them to be elated with the same post-race feelings our runners experience afterall rising tides raise all boats.”
Thinking big picture about what she does and why she does it, Blanchard said, “I’m passionate because our industry is health wellness. I want to contribute something on this Earth that’s greater than myself. This is more than a job, more than a career.”
For a complete race weekend schedule of events, visit www.RunLongBeach.com.
About the Long Beach Marathon presented by Philips Sonicare
The 2023 Long Beach Marathon presented by Philips Sonicare returns for its 39th edition on the weekend of October 14-15. Event weekend annually attracts more than 18,000 runners with perfect Southern California weather and a fast, flat course along the waterfront. Participants can choose from four different events including the marathon, half marathon, Bike Tour, or the Aquarium of the Pacific 5k, offering runners iconic waterfront views of Shoreline Village and the Queen Mary Hotel. For more information about the Long Beach Marathon or to register for the event, visit RunLongBeach.com and follow @LongBeachMarathon on social media.
About Royal Philips
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation. Philips’ patient- and people-centric innovation leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver personal health solutions for consumers and professional health solutions for healthcare providers and their patients in the hospital and the home. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, ultrasound, image-guided therapy, monitoring and enterprise informatics, as well as in personal health. Philips generated 2022 sales of EUR 17.8 billion and employs approximately 74,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at http://www.philips.com/newscenter.
Dan Cruz, 619-925-7671