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The Suburbanite
  • Marathon organizers listen and learn

  • The issue: Criticism of Canton Marathon

    Our view: Jackson trustees’ legitimate concerns are sure to be addressed for 2013 race

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  • The issue: Criticism of Canton Marathon
    Our view: Jackson trustees’ legitimate concerns are sure to be addressed for 2013 race
    One reason for the great success of the Canton Marathon was the organizers’ desire to get advice from experts about how to make it as good a race as it could be.
    Was it perfect? Of course not. But the organizers’ attitude
    hasn’t changed now that the June 17 marathon is over. They’re getting a volley of criticism from Jackson Township officials, but to their credit, they’re accepting it with a thick skin and expressing the same desire to do whatever they have to do to make the 2013 marathon as good as it can be.
    Township trustees say in a letter to the organizers that Jackson police had asked for 160 volunteers to help with traffic control but got only 35. That’s a legitimate concern. Given the amount of interest the marathon generated, recruiting volunteers probably won’t be a problem next year.
    The trustees say the entrances and exits to a business were blocked during the race. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen again. Taking the route through an area as congested as Jackson Township is clearly the issue that has upset more people than any other. A somewhat altered route and more signs to direct drivers should go a long way toward solving the problem.
    The marathon attracted 5,000 runners — an amazing feat for a first-time event. We hope that most Jackson residents see value in introducing their area to thousands of visitors. But if they really don’t want a piece of the 2013 race, the organizers have plenty of other options to explore.
    One option we trust that no one will expect, or even consider, is abandoning the marathon. It’s a terrific event — fun and healthful. And lucrative for the local economy, according to a Walsh University study that says the marathon brought about $1 million into Stark County.
    That’s equally amazing for a first-time event.
    Some Stark Countians like to point out that the marathon held in June wasn’t Canton’s first. Marathons were held here for a few years in the 1970s. But we call it the first because it may as well be the first.
    Decades have passed since the 1970s, and the Stark County of 2012, especially the northern part, is not the Stark County of the 1970s. There are many more stores and residential neighborhoods, many more vehicles and far less farmland. All of those changes make a major enterprise such as a 26.2-mile race harder to plan and execute.
    But it clearly can be done and done well. We have every reason to expect that it will be even better next year.