Route 66 in the News

Route 66 Marathon Planned

2009-12-16 08:51:40

JOPLIN, Mo. - Vince Lindstrom called Route 66 "our Mississippi River." The man of ideas, Joplin's director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau has found a way to finally call attention in the Joplin area to this bit of nostalgia, also known as the "Mother Road."

"The Baxter Springs Museum will be involved," Lindstrom said. He hopes to bring the Route 66 concept to 20-and 30-year-olds like it has appealed to seniors.

In 2006 Lindstrom at the age of 65 was inspired to participate in the Boston Marathon, an event, not unlike the world's largest marathon held in New York City that attracts runners from all over the world.

Lindstrom took the podium today (Dec. 16, 2009) at Joplin City Hall to announce that planning has begun for the inaugural Tri-State Mother Road Marathon and Half Marathon to be held on October 10, 2010, with bragging rights that it will be the only 26.2 marathon passing through three states: Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and that it will be a certified Boston Marathon qualifier. The marathon will begin in North Miami, OK and half-marathon will start in Baxter Springs, KS with the ending point at the Joplin Athletic Complex, just northwest of Schifferdecker Park.

The excitement over creating what will earn the rights as a signature tourist event resonated throughout the room as details, including that of the half marathon (13.1 miles), 5K race (3.1 mile) and one mile fun run, were announced. In addition to a runner's health and fitness expo scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9, live rock 'n roll music in the spirit of Route 66 will liven the course and a post race party with food, refreshments and more music will be held at the Joplin Athletic Complex. In addition to Joplin, the towns of Commerce and Miami in Oklahoma and Baxter Springs and Galena in Kansas will hold festivals to promote the event.

While the event is the brainchild of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, which undertook the task, described as "arduous," of securing permits from the participating states, the major promoter, financed by unused CVB grant money, will be the Florida-based Reinke Sports Group, a consulting firm owned by former Brooks Shoe Company executive Dean Reinke. He's a South Bend, IN native and former Indiana University miler (4:02).

Reinke, who represents the company that founded and operates the 15-city nationwide USRA Half Marathon Series of which Joplin's half marathon will become a part, expressed enthusiasm for the event. He saw the biggest scenario in its "life-style changing" potential. Participants will have to "stop smoking and change their diets," he said.

"Community involvement is necessary for the success of this type of event," Reinke added. In calling the event "recession-proof," he labeled it "a tourism opportunity of a lifetime."

Fourteen areas of interest have been posted for volunteer sign-up here. Until he gets volunteers, Warren Turner,coordinator, said he "hasn't much to do."

~from the Joplin Independent


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