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This May Be the Last Year for the Long Beach Inline Marathon
Loss of Salomon and K2 as Sponsors Threatens the Race's Future
By Robert "Say It Isn't So" Burnson
Things are not looking good for the Long Beach Inline Marathon, the largest inline racing event in California. According to Long Beach race director Dan Joyce, the event is headed for extinction unless new sponsors can be found to keep it rolling.
Skate makers Salomon and K2, in the midst of an industry-wide slump, have dropped their sponsorship of the event, Dan says. (They aren't even going to show up for this year's Long Beach Marathon Expo!) And that puts the future of the 6-year-old event in jeopardy.
This year's race (on Oct. 10, 2004) will not be affected. Everything's already in place. But if new sponsors can't be found, the Long Beach Inline Marathon will likely be axed from the 2005 Long Beach schedule, Dan tells us.
Of course, the problem isn't only corporate sponsorship. The fact of the matter is the Long Beach Inline has been unable to attract the throngs of skaters that show up for the big inline events, like the Berlin Marathon or the NorthShore in Duluth, Minn.
If the Long Beach could attract the numbers, the sponsors would no doubt provide the bucks.
Which begs the question: How is it that the Long Beach Inline Marathon in sunny, youth-enculturated, Venice-Beached Southern California only attracts 600 skaters a year while in the Far Corner of the Universe (Duluth), the NorthShore draws nearly 4,000 skaters?
Well, don't ask me! I'm just a lowly skater. ... Fortunately, Dan has some thoughts on the matter, which he was willing to share during an Inline Planet Interview.
Dan's well worth listening to. He's put on more than 100 events; has served as the Long Shore inline race director for six years and the Disney Inline Marathon director for two; has worked for Rollerblade and, at one point, the U.S. Olympic Festival. (Based on that experience, he thinks inline skating has ZERO chance of making it into the Olympics. He talks about this in Part II of the interview.)
So here's two things to do:
First: sign up for the Long Beach Inline Marathon. If we're there, the sponsors will follow!
Second (although you can do this first if you want) read the Planet Interviews with Dan, the Long Beach Marathon Man.
Part I: Dan Joyce Interview
Part II: Dan Joyce Interview
• Part I: Interview With the Long Beach Marathon Man
• Part II: Interview with the Long Beach Marathon Man
• Inline Marathoning
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson