The Marathon Project Runs This Weekend

18 Dec, 2020

An event called The Marathon Project will offer 50 men and 50 women the opportunity to run a flat, fast road marathon on December 20, 2020 in Chandler, Ariz.

The Marathon Project, born out of necessity after the cancellations of most of the world’s big city marathons due to COVID-19, was the brainchild of BOOM Management’s Josh Cox, Big River Race Management’s Matt Helbig and HOKA NAZ Elite’s Ben Rosario.

Cox said that 2020 has been an emotional roller coaster, with waning motivation among athletes and The Marathon Project can give them something to look forward to.

“We wanted to create a flat, fast course for professional athletes so they could showcase their talents,” Cox said. “We wanted to look back at 2020 and know that we did everything within our power to help not only the athletes, but also the sport.”

The Marathon Project course is a 4.3 mile loop in Chandler, Ariz. on the streets surrounding the Rawhide Events Center in the middle of the Gila River Indian Reservation. The weather in Chandler in December is typically cool with an average low of 40 degrees fahrenheit and an average high of 66 degrees. The race will begin at 7:30 a.m. and feature pacemakers for both the men’s and women’s races with the stated goal of a sub 2:10:00 for the men and a sub 2:24:00 for the women.

Athletes will have two weeks to register for the event with the final fields to be announced on October 14. Automatic entries will be given to registrants who finished in the top 25 at February’s United States Olympic Trials Marathon. Early commitments to the event include nine of the top 20 finishers from the Trials on the men’s side: Augustus Maiyo (5th), Martin Hehir (6th), Colin Bennie (9th), Matt McDonald (10th), Scott Fauble (12th), Brendan Gregg (14th), Josh Izewski (17th), Scott Smith (19th) and Nico Montanez (20th). Commitments on the women’s side include former Boston, Chicago and Paris Marathon Champion Atsede Baysa as well as seven of the top 20 finishers from the U.S. Trials: Stephanie Bruce (6th), Emma Bates (7th), Kellyn Taylor (8th), Julia Kohnen (10th), Kate Landau (14th), Keira D’Amato (15th) and Bethany Sachtleben (20th).

Taylor said she was excited to compete against what promises to be a loaded field.

“The course looks so flat and fast it almost looks boring,” Taylor said. “But that’s 2020…making lemonade out of lemons.”

The Marathon Project will adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines set forth by USA Track and Field, World Athletics and the State of Arizona to ensure a safe event for all competitors and staff. Spectators will not be allowed on site so as to limit the number of people in the area on race day. Registration began on September 24.


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