By Ed Griffin
The 7th Syracuse Half Marathon held this past Sunday was a success at so many levels. The participants, fans, sponsors and the community all benefit from a great event that has only been held seven times.
The participants are treated like royalty with lots of great SWAG, a well-organized event, a vibrant post-race party and a sweet medal every year. Dollar for dollar, the Syracuse Half spends more money on the participants than any race I know of.
The sponsors also benefit in extending the image and reach of their brands with a very large and influential participant base. Byrne Diary is ever present, from Byrnsie the cow; to the awesome Byrne Diary Chocolate Milk that is everywhere in the 120,000 square foot OnCenter.
But just as important is how the community benefits from the Syracuse Half Marathon.
Having traveled to a lot of communities for running events, business and pleasure, I get the sense that Syracuse does not always hold itself in high regard. If citizens want to focus on people making fun of our weather, the sluggish economy or the number of high-rise buildings, you could take the position that Syracuse is not a great place to live.
I have said it before and will say it again, focus on the good stuff because every place in America has both good and not so good aspects of living there.
Over 30% of the participants of the Syracuse Half Marathon travel from 34 different states in America to run in the event and they bring people with them. This event and others like it, provide an opportunity for our community to put our best foot forward and show people what we have going on here. Making a great impression on visitors should be job 1# in our community and cities around the world benefit from great events that their communities embrace.
We have something special in Central New York. We have great natural resources, good people, a central location, a newly renovated airport, great local sports including nationally ranked college football and basketball teams and one of the best running communities anywhere.
Now we have the Syracuse Half Marathon, heading to the top of its class right here in Syracuse.
That is something to feel good about.