New Partnerships and New Medals As COVID-19 Impacts Race Schedules

April 30, 2020

Williams Route 66 Marathon Announces New Medal Series; Partners with OKC Memorial Marathon

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the running world in the same way its changed travel, trade shows, and nearly every other aspect of daily life. Races around the world have been postponed until later in the year, including the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon normally run in April in conjunction with the anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995.

This year, the OKC Memorial Marathon is delayed until October. With the Williams Route 66 Marathon scheduled for November, Oklahoma’s premier marathon events are now within weeks of each other. Rather than view the juxtaposition as competitive, the two marathons have partnered to offer a special medal as part of the Oklahoma Standard program.  Runners who run either the half or the full marathon in each of the two race events will receive the Oklahoma Standard medal.

“For nearly 25 years, Oklahomans have demonstrated that we come together in times of tragedy to lift each other up and strengthen our community, and the COVID-19 crisis is no different,” said Destiny Green, Executive Director of the Williams Route 66 Marathon.

“We want to give Oklahomans another reason to come together and celebrate our strength and spirit by participating in our state’s major marathons as one team – Team Oklahoma.”

In another unique medal opportunity for runners this year, the Williams Route 66 Marathon has also announced a new medal series to mark its 15th anniversary. The new series, celebrating larger than life icons of Route 66, will start this year and lead up to the 20th anniversary event in 2025. This year’s medal features Buck Atom, the roadside cowboy holding a rocket ship – known as Route 66’s Muffler Man Space Cowboy. “This medals in this series have never spent time on the hood of a car, and if you miss one, you’ll miss the set and the special display rack that those who earn all five in the series will get as a bonus,” Green said.

Runners across Oklahoma are focused on two big fall races offering special medals that can only be earned through having the stamina to run in both OKC and Tulsa, five weeks apart. Our experts offer these tips to help runners prepare for the fall races (and they are all fall races, now, aren’t they?):

  1. Sign up for a virtual running challenge. There are so many out there. Many virtual challenges are free but some cost when they offer shirts and/or medals. Garmin, Strava, and other similar apps offer challenges to earn badges.
  2. Instead of running in places where crowds continue to be, run in your neighborhood. Cross the street whenever you approach others to avoid any risk. Resist the urge to stop and chat with neighbors.
  3. If you are practicing social distancing while running with a buddy, increase your running distance to 12 feet instead of the recommended 6 feet, since wind direction and speed can invalidate the recommended social distancing measures.
  4. Do a backyard 5K. Use your GPS tracker and run or walk around your backyard until you reach 3.1 miles. Post the resulting map on your social media. You will feel accomplished and also intrigued by the picture you make.
  5. Make a running date with one of your running friends. Choose a specific time and stance to connect via phone with your friend. Run separately together. Please remember running with headphones can be dangerous, reducing your awareness of what’s going on around you. Run safely with headphones by only using in one ear or using a set that doesn’t block ambient sound.
  6. Find a great podcast or e-book to listen to while running. The distraction will pass the time and fill the place of chit-chat you’re used to sharing with your running friends.

About Williams Route 66 Marathon: Since 2006, the Route 66 Marathon has hosted a world-class marathon weekend in the heart of Tulsa. 2020 will mark the fifteenth year for the event that has grown into “Oklahoma’s biggest block party” complete with a Health, Fitness & Sustainability Expo; Fun Run; 5K; Mascot Dash; Marathon; Half-Marathon and Marathon Relay. The 2020 events will be held November 20-21, 2020. With a focus on fun, the event offers participants unparalleled spectator support. It’s not uncommon for neighborhoods along the course to host their own unofficial aid stations and block parties to welcome the runners. The race also offers award-winning finisher medals and race premiums inspired by the classic cars from the Route 66 automobile era. Named a “Must Do Fall Race” by Runner’s World magazine, the Route 66 Marathon is truly a 26.2-mile-long party. The event brings more than 12,000 runners to the Tulsa area from all 50 states and more than 10 countries each year and has an estimated economic impact of more than $8 million dollars. Runners who complete the Center of the Universe Detour, which adds an extra 0.3-mile to the marathon, can also proudly proclaim they’ve completed the World’s Shortest Ultramarathon! And yes, there’s beer at the finish line. To learn more, visit www.Route66marathon.com or contact Mandy Vavrinak at mvavrinak@mac.com or call 918-633-4397.

About Oklahoma Standard:“We are committed to the continued awareness, education, and the preservation of the Oklahoma Standard values–especially right now,” said Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “These values unite the people of Oklahoma in building a bright future of caring citizens who actively serve the community, honor the past, and demonstrate kindness. What can you do? What will you do?”

To learn more, visit OklahomaStandard.com.