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Rochester running ... part 2

So continuing on yesterday's post discussing race directing and certification.


My part.... in the 1980's When I approached the Arthritis Foundation, AF (I was the then coach of Joints in Motion) about bringing the retired Rochester Marathon back to town, they weren't thrilled with the idea. You know, "how much was that going to cost?"

Rochester Marathon was one of my early marathons, and I was eager to bring our first marathon back to the area.

Having run many marathons but never directed one, I was ready for the challenge. Met with the city officials (Chief Duffy) about logistics and my course design. The cost and availability of Rochester police overtime wasn't going to work because our "not for profit" wouldn't/couldn't afford it.


So, I had a plan B. Take the marathon outside of the city limits and run a race elsewhere.

I thought about my very first marathon Lake Ontario Marathon, run on Lake Ontario Parkway in late 1970's.

I did some research and planning, and viola, the creation of Ontario Shore marathon at Hamlin Beach park. Designing a course was relatively easy out in farm country. Hamlin Beach park was logistically perfect for staging, parking, execution etc.


The only thing was floating the idea to AF with this new venue. I had to show them that staging an event like this would bring in much more $ than say a golf tournament or a raffle.


I had already learned the techniques of course certification from a local certifier and inherited equipment/ tools from retired GRTC race director and certifier George Tillson. It was a plan that was starting to take shape and the birth of Ontario Shore Marathon, with a 5 yr plan to move it back to Rochester if it was financially sound.


Why this fits the narrative, a new marathon, if it warrants "Boston qualifier status", the course needs to be certified by USATF standards. I had previously certified shorter courses under Brooks Coaching and Consulting, but a marathon is a much bigger fish to fry. Certifying a course of this length is much easier on long country roads than the city streets.


My co-race director and running friend Rich DiMarco and I certified and directed our first marathon course. Long story short. It was a success and a lucrative financial project for AF. as well they were believers in my "dream".


Four years into our 5 yr plan, we were ready to bring the Rochester Marathon back with a new course design (different from original) including a half marathon starting downtown and finishing at Frontier Field stadium. Once we presented this to the city officials it was go time. It was a huge success for AF and race directors Greg and Rich.

The next challenge for us was to certify the new course, which started downtown Rochester, out on East Ave to Fairport and follow the Erie Canal back to city through Genesee Valley Park finishing at FF Stadium. Both races full and half ended on same finishline.


Rich and I had our work cut out figuring out the logistics to make this happen. Our team (AF) was up to the task. It was a financially sound plan which worked out as a win win for AF and Rchester running community.


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