Event News > St. Paul Inline Marathon

Numbers Appear to be Climbing for St. Paul Marathon
Organizers hope to draw 2000 skaters this year
Planet staff

The St. Paul Inline Marathon appears to be growing and may exceed 2000 skaters this year, the organizers say.

"Our numbers are on fire," said event cofounder Mike Cofrin. "We are 250 over last year."

Based on early registration figures, Cofrin will participate in the event on Aug. 20th in St. Paul, Minn.

Last year, 1691 skaters participated in the second annual event.

If the marathon manages to grow this year it will be bucking a North American trend. Most inline skating events have attracted fewer skaters in recent years as the popularity of the sport has declined.

Even the prestigious Northshore Inline Marathon, North America's largest, has experienced a slight drop in numbers in the last few years.

Last year, the number of skaters fell below 4000 (to 3898) for the first time in years. The 10-year-old marathon has attracted as many as 4500 skaters.

St. Paul cofounder Marilyn Franzen thinks the St. Paul marathon has reached "critical mass."

"I have seen it happen time and time again with triathlon, running and cross-country skiing events," said Franzen, a veteran event promoter. "There comes a point with every mass participation event when it is considered "major" ... and starts growing on its own.

"Nonetheless, growth like this is only possible when you consistently produce a solid event and market it well," she said.

Cofrin listed several factors in the success of the marathon:

  • Solid promotion of the marathon at the Metrodome Rollerdome in Minneapolis, which attracted 25,000 skaters this winter
  • Its reputation as a high quality event in a large market
  • The visibility it garnered from last year's ESPN coverage (Cofrin estimates 6 million people watched it.)
  • Its high rate of returning skaters along with many newcomers (about 20 percent of early registrants are new to the event)
  • A productive partnership with the Northshore and Disney inline marathons
  • St. Paul's new 10 mile tour (so far, 42 have registered)
  • A new relationship with Special Olympics, Minnesota
  • Support from the city of St. Paul and participation in the marathon by the mayor and governor

"I am sure there are a few more," he said. "But we just need to keep it going on a day by day basis. As our general manager Adam Kocinski says, we grow this event one skater at a time."

(posted on April 12, 2006)

Related reading:

Event news.

St. Paul Inline Marathon web site.


Related reading:

Event news.

St. Paul Inline Marathon web site.


Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson

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