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

By Robert "The Concept Man" Burnson

So here's what you need to do to start up a new inline racing event:

  1. Decide on a place and date for the race
  2. Go to city hall and request the necessary permits ($$)
  3. Advertise the race ($$)
  4. Rent barricades and traffic signs ($$)
  5. Buy insurance ($$)
  6. Rent traffic cops ($$$)
  7. Work 24-hour-a-day for a week to put everything in place
  8. Watch the race from the sideline because SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO HOLD IT ALL TOGETHER
  9. Get blamed for EVERYTHING that went wrong (!@*%#)

Don't believe me? ... Ask a race director.

But there's another way. And if you are headed to San Diego for the Silver Strand Half Marathon this Sunday (Nov. 14), you'll see for yourself.

Here's the formula for this healthy, one-year-old event:

  1. Find an established non-skating race
  2. Add insurance for skaters ($)
  3. Put your skates on and go!

Maybe it's not quite that simple. But the Silver Strand is an example of how a professionally run inline race can blossom even as other races in the neighborhood (i.e.. the Long Beach and the Cactus Classic) struggle.

That's not to say that the inaugural Silver Strand inline event was an enormous success. The race drew a modest number of skaters: 165.

But more are coming this year (about 200 are expected). And the race is doing well enough that its promoter is talking about creating a full inline marathon for San Diego, perhaps as early as 2006.

How is this possible?

One word: synergy.

Two hundred skaters may be too few to make a race profitable. But add them to a race that is already financially healthy, and the skaters become the icing on the cake.

At least, that's the way it has worked out for the Silver Strand.

Koz Enterprises started the event four years ago as a half marathon (13.1 miles) for runners, wheelchair racers, and amputees.

It put the race on a scenic, mostly flat course with San Diego Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other; and it scheduled the event so it wouldn't collide with the many other Southern California marathons.

It was an instant success. Registration quickly climbed to 1500.

But why stop there? Why not make it bigger?

"I knew we had a solid base of runners for the event, and a perfect course for skaters. So I thought, why not add an inline event?" says Rick Kozlowski, president of Koz Enterprises.

The course is point-to-point, starting in Coronado and ending in Imperial Beach. So by starting the skaters first, Kozlowski knew he could avoid cross-discipline traffic jams. (The skaters start at 7:05 a.m. Next come the wheelchair racers at 7:10; amputees at 7:15; and finally, the runners at 7:20.)

Kozlowski found that adding skaters wouldn't significantly add to the cost of the event. The only major new expense was for insurance to cover the skaters in case of accidents.

Continued ...

Part 1|2| >>>




Talk About this Article ...

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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