Monday, March 12, 2007

Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon to Offer Prize Money

This June, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon will feature a cash prize purse for top place-winners at the Grandma's Marathon-sponsored event. Race winners will earn $1000 for their accomplishments; masters champions will take home $500. The overall purse totals $7000.

"As we examined other potential additions specifically for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, it became evident to us that one of the most logical steps for a race entering its 14th year was to install a cash prize structure." Grandma's Marathon Executive Director Scott Keenan explained to DtB. "We are confident the cash awards will be seen as a positive addition, especially by our elite half-marathon athletes, while at the same time maintain the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon as a citizen’s race."

The race has offered prize money before when it served, in 2003 and 2004, as the USA Women's Half Marathon Championship.

The new prize structure should reward regional runners who have long flocked to the race for its fast course and strong competition. It may now also attract national and international athletes looking for a nice pay-day.

"For many years, we have extended modest transportation and lodging assistance to half-marathon participants meeting our qualifications of an elite athlete," Keenan said. "We will continue to offer such assistance on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the race."

The June 16th race is currently full, but prospective elite athletes can still request elite entry.

Keenan hinted that the Garry Bjorklund purse could grow in the coming years.

"While we are not certain where the half-marathon prize structure might develop from here, we believe a $7,000 total purse is a good starting point," he said.

Also: As of Friday, only 450 spots remained in the Grandma's Marathon field, which has a limit of 9,500 runners. The event, to be held June 16th, has reached its capacity for 12 consecutive years. Official Grandma’s Marathon entry forms can be downloaded and printed from the event site.

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