The Silver Strand's Silver Lining

... Or How to Succeed In the Marathon Business Without Trying (Too Much!)

The Silver Strand Half Marathon: a Planet Preview

(Page 2 of 2)

Koz buys insurance for the race from USA Track and Field. But Track and Field won't cover skaters. So Koz had to buy a separate policy from USA Roller Sports.

Because the skaters use the same course as the runners, there's little or no extra cost for street permits, barricades, traffic cones, traffic signs and traffic cops, Kozlowski says.

The race went off very smoothly last year, said Howard Yeh, a pro skater who worked as a volunteer on the race last year.

"Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. We had some rain the night before so parts of the course were wet. But we had a good turnout, and everybody had a great time."

The race is open to all kinds of skaters. Last year, most were recreational and fitness skaters, but there were even a few quad skaters, said Yeh, who is head of the San Diego Street Elite skate club.

"I was told there was one person who skated the whole half marathon backward. ... That's the San Diego lifestyle, I guess."

The race only attracted a handful of pro skaters last year, Yeh said. But that's not surprising. It's a half, rather than a full, marathon. It has a small purse. And it comes at, or after, the end of the outdoor skating season in the United States.

Nonetheless, the race hopes to have more pro racers this year (Yeh will be one of them) and last year's winners, Randy Bowman and Mechele Busby, are expected back to defend their crowns.

Kozlowski, who puts on a dozen San Diego athletic events, said he is uncertain about how to promote the inline portion of the Silver Strand. It's easy to reach runners, he said. All you have to do is place an ad in one of the running magazines. But inline skaters at this point don't appear to have a magazine.

Kozlowski said he would like to draw at least 500 skaters to the race. But even 300 would make good business sense.

"Let's say you bring in 300 skaters," he said. "After all the costs, you should still be making an additional five to seven dollars per skater. If you have 300 skaters, that's an additional $1,500. And that's worth it."

Kozlowski said he is thinking of creating a new event that will include three different races: a full inline marathon, a bicycle tour, and a duathalon. In the duathalon, the contestants would start running, then shift to bikes, and then finish running. The event would be held in February (possibly starting in 2006) and would make use of a car pool lane on Interstate 15.

Kozlowski said the race would need to attract at least a thousand entrants to be successful.

"As a businessman, I need 1,000 participants to make an event worth my while," he said.

"It can be any combination of skaters, runners, bicyclists ... I don't care how I get that thousand. ... But I know if I get to it, I have an event that is viable."

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Related Reading:

Long Beach marathon may get the axe

Cactus Classic May Roll Into the Sunset

Official site of the Silver Strand Half Marathon


Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson

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