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Marketing, the Marathon and the Financial Services Industry

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There’s no denying that interest in running marathons is at an all time high. Registration is up. Races are selling out in record time. And, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, in 2010 the number of marathon runners crossing the finish exceeded the half-million mark for the first time at 507,000.

Not only has the number of runners increased, so have the number of marathons. In 2010 more than 35 new marathons were launched according to Running USA. These new additions have brought the total number of official U.S. marathons up 625 – a 213% increase since 1985!

With marathons just getting more and more popular, they have also attracted interest from another key sector – marketers. Yes, along with runners, interest in marathons as marketing vehicles has increasingly grown in popularity. Sponsorships are nothing new and they provide valued funding that enable races to operate, offer prize money and attract top talent. And nowhere is this more prevalent than in the financial services sector, where the three U.S. based marathon majors are all sponsored by the following organizations:

– New York: ING
– Chicago: Bank of America
– Boston: John Hancock

Why is it that  companies are choosing to invest so much in the marathon? Is it because they have a love of running?  Well, yes, they certainly are supportive. But more importantly it’s because they love runners, marathon runners, specifically.

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