Part 1: Dan Joyce Interview

In Which the Long Beach Marathon Man Talks About ...

  • Why the 2005 Long Beach Inline Marathon May Get the Axe
  • What the Marathon Needs to Stay Alive
  • Why the Long Beach Has Never Attracted Huge Hordes of Skaters
  • Why the NorthShore Inline Marathon Does

Robert: There's been some talk that this could be the last year for the Long Beach Inline Marathon. Is that true?

Dan: That is true. The biggest reason for this is that unfortunately the inline manufacturing market is decreasing. And because of that, two or our sponsors have pulled out: K2 and Salomon. They had commitments, and they pulled out. So now there may not be a 2005 inline marathon.

You see, the (Long Beach) marathon committee is in a situation where they can't lose money on an element of the race. [The Long Beach Marathon includes a large running marathon, a bicycle tour, and the inline marathon.] But with two sponsors pulling out, they have to have a way to help offset the cost of the event. It's pure economics. People don't realize it but it takes tens of thousands of dollars to put on an event like that.

What we need is a sponsor to come in and say, "Here's $100,000 to help get your numbers up." But we don't have that. There's no one willing to do that given the number of people we sign up for the race.

Robert: What kind of sponsors is the committe looking for to replace K2 and Salomon?

Dan: Someone like Coca-Cola or McDonald or a Fortune 500 companies. Someone that would like to be associated with our active-lifestyle demographic.

Robert: Why is it that the Long Beach Marathon doesn't attract as many skaters as some of the other inline marathons, like the NorthShore in Duluth?

Dan: I have a couple theories on that. The biggest is that Duluth is what you call a small market. If you were to take the budget that the NorthShore has for advertisement and put a percent on the amount of people that you would reach with that money in Minnesota as compared to Southern California, you would find that we would have to quadruple our budget to reach as many people as they can. Their cost to market and advertise is one fourth of what ours is.

The second element is that there are more skaters per capita in Minneapolis than in Los Angeles. And I know that to be true because we've done statistical research with Rollerblade

The other thing is the pre-winter lifestyle in Minnesota. In Duluth, people want to get in as much activity as you can before winter when they are going to be stuck inside. Here it doesn't make a difference because we have such nice weather all year round.

Robert: Do you think an inline marathon could succeed anywhere in Southern California?

Dan: No. I think they would have the same issues we have. I think Duluth is not the norm and its success has to do with the market it's in. Look at the Disney Inline Marathon and the amount of money Disney puts into that event. Still they had only 1500, 1600 skaters this year. ... Duluth just has the corner on the market.

Robert: Will K2 and Salomon have booths at the Long Beach Marathon Expo this year?

Dan: No. They will not.

Robert: Do you think they will stay in the skate market?

Dan: I would think they would always make skates. But you can look at their skate sales: they are consistently down for the last five years. Unfortunately, putting money in events like ours is one of the first things that gets cut when skate sales are down. Events like ours are going to have to rely on non-inline industry companies for support.

Part II: Dan Joyce Interview



Related Reading

• Long Beach Inline Marathon in Doubt for 2005


• Inline Marathoning


Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson

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