The Canton marathon — Hall of Fame City Challenge — is on for 2013, with some changes in store.
The races formerly known as the Canton Marathon will march on next year — albeit with a different name, a new route and without one of its co-founders.
“We’ve never stopped planning for next year,” said Stephen Mears, chief executive of the event.
Among the key changes:
•The race is now called Hall of Fame City Challenge.
• It’s on June 15, a Saturday, instead of a Sunday.
•The route is radically altered to include more neighborhoods.
• Julia Dick, president of the Marathon, is not involved with this incarnation.
“This is too important for the community (to not move on),” Mears said. “The name better reflects the greater Canton area ... and it ties in with the epicenter of tourism in Stark County.”
Although the June 2012 event attracted more than 5,000 runners, and was a hit with the running community, it was a financial loss. Some vendors and cities, which provided services for the inaugural marathon, still haven’t been paid in full. And an awards ceremony prepared for last fall was canceled, at least in part due to lack of funds.
“They all are going to be made whole by me,” Mears said.
According to a repayment schedule provided to The Repository in October by a creditor, the Marathon owed more than $100,000 to seven vendors. At the time, Marathon officials planned to make combined monthly payments of $8,000 toward the debt.
Mears said the total due is now less than $80,000. He plans to pay that off with initial proceeds from runner fees for the 2013 races. Registration for next year’s event will begin with a special online sale that opens at the moment the ball drops in Times Square.
For 24 hours on Jan. 1, entry prices for all five races, including the 26.2-mile full marathon, will be discounted by $10 at: www.active.com/marathon/canton-oh/hall-of-fame-city-challenge-2013
Partial payments have been made to the cities of Canton and North Canton on a combined $29,295 tab for police and fire services. Officials from each city have said they were reluctant to pledge services for next year’s race until this year’s bills are paid in full.
Next year’s race route will wind through Canton, North Canton and Perry and Plain townships. Mears said race officials will provide communities an up-front deposit to cover safety services.
The exact route won’t be released for several weeks. However, the full marathon will contain two 13.1-mile loops. It will begin in downtown Canton and go north on Market Avenue. It will also include portions of Cleveland Avenue, extend west to the Central Catholic High area and will conclude again at Fawcett Stadium — with plenty of residential streets along the way.
Page 2 of 2 - Advantages of the 2013 route, Mears said, are fewer hills, more shade trees and less disruption for businesses. Running on a Saturday rather than a Sunday will make it more efficient for safety forces, he added.
Mears said he hopes to attract a combined 8,500 runners in the full marathon, half marathon, 10K, five-person relay and kids’ dash.
Legally, the Canton Marathon is owned by a private limited liability corporation, formed four years ago by Julia Dick. The Hall of Fame City Challenge marathon and other events to be planned throughout the year will be owned by a new company, Mears said.
Mears said he and Dick, his fellow co-founder, had a “difference in opinion” on how to proceed with the event. She did not return a phone call on Friday seeking comment for this story.
THINGS TO KNOW
While not completely finalized, the race has a new starting line (downtown Canton) and will not enter Jackson Township. The finish will remain in Fawcett Stadium.
It’s no longer on Father’s Day (June 16). It’s been moved up one day, to Saturday, June 15.
Opens at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Discounted entry fees are available on New Year’s Day only. Visit www.active.com/marathon.