Marathon’s success exceeds all expectations

Last weekend’s marathon was pronounced a success by Mayor Jake Day, who continued to nurse sore legs a few days after running more than 26 miles.

“I can’t find enough Motrin and Tylenol,” the mayor said, laughing.

Maybe not, but judging by his face as he hugged his two little girls – who made him signs saying Go, Daddy, Go and You’re Our Hero, Daddy – there’s something to be said for the healing power of love.

Despite pain, Day was determined to complete the 26.2-mile course in the city’s first SBY Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K last Saturday and said he would have finished if he had to drag himself, bleeding, over the line.

“This was my first one. It’s tough. There really isn’t any way you can practice for it except to just do it,” he said.

And they did it, Day and about 1,100 like-minded runners, lacing up their shoes and making it through the full marathon course along the scenic trails and Urban Greenway the city promised, the 13.1-mile half or Pinwheels for Protection 5K, sponsored by the Life Crisis Center.

Although he’s unsure he’ll make another attempt, Day said the city will continue hosting marathons and welcoming guests every year, especially since response was so strong. More than 1,100 people came from 35 states, including at least two from overseas.

It’s too soon to gauge the economic impact of the event that cost $100,000, but during planning Day promised, “the potential for tourism is massive.”

The costs were financed entirely through entry fees and sponsorships; no taxpayer monies were used for the event.

Restaurant and business owners told him the hundreds of people in town last weekend, coupled with a warm, sunny day on Saturday, greatly benefitted business.

“Everything I heard about it was positive. Everybody had something good to say. I won’t even say 99.9 percent. It was a 100-percent success. There wasn’t anybody who had anything but positive things to say. Everybody really enjoyed the big after party,” Day said.

The post-race celebration featured local craft beers and music.

City Administrator Julia Glanz posted on Facebook that the city “couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

“It’s only fitting that Salisbury University alumna Lauren (DePaul Barlow) won the Women’s Half Marathon. Thanks for coming home to run,” Glanz wrote.

Fellow runner Chuck Molnar of Salisbury complimented Day, saying he looked strong on the course.

“I was hurtin’ on the back stretch!” Day replied.

Andrew Momme thanked Day “for the vision to make this happen.”

I’ll be there next year,” Momme wrote.

“I can’t wait to see this grow,” Day answered.

Lisa Bryant, also on Facebook, emphasized health benefits.

“You can talk taxes, crime rates, bond ratings, etc., but none of this matters if the people living in your city are not healthy. I think the efforts of organizers and participants will inspire others to think about participating next year. Wouldn’t it be great to call Salisbury, Md., the fittest city in the nation?”

As he recovers from achiness, Day and city staff are already talking about changes next year and when to schedule the 2019 marathon.

About two weeks before the run, Day said he was looking forward “to getting our city on the map as a national qualifier.”

As a Boston qualifier, the race, he predicted, “will be unlike anything Salisbury has experienced before.”

“It’s a tremendous moment for us, a real triumph,” Day said.

“When you look at cities, and what basic, fundamental building blocks of any city is, this is an important thing. We finally have a marathon as part of our portfolio,” he said.

In November it was announced that both the full and half runs had been certified by the USA Track and Field organization. By then, 250 registrants had already paid.

Certification ensured distances were measured accurately and will now allow runners to use their results to apply for events such as the Boston Marathon. The half-marathon course can be used for application for the New York City Marathon.

Proceeds from the marathon will benefit both Life Crisis and Athletes Serving Athletes, an organization for those living with disabilities who want to compete in mainstream running and triathlon events.

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