Sunburst Races will no longer include a marathon
SOUTH BEND —
If running a marathon is on your New Year's resolution list, you may have to travel out of town.
For the first time in 35 years, the Sunburst races in June will not include a marathon.
Organizers say the decision wasn't easy.
The event started as a marathon-only event, so organizers say the choice to cancel the marathon portion was debated. But in the end, the decision was made in hopes it'll make the event better overall.
Matthew Rogers ran the Sunburst marathon last year and was planning on doing it again.
“The closest marathon we have around here to qualify for is like in Chicago or Indianapolis. That's like a three-hour drive. I think it's nice to be able to wake up that morning and just take a 20-minute drive to the start line makes it a lot easier,” said Rogers.
But the Sunburst marathon is no longer an option. Organizers say declining registration caused them to cancel that race.
Last year, there were fewer than 250 marathon finishers. That’s down from more than 800 just five years ago.
"There's a lot that goes into a marathon, and with the amount of resources and time that gets put into that, to see those numbers come down year after year, we decided that we needed to change things up,” said Race Director, Travis Bladecki.
He says the resources will be re-allocated to the 5k, 10k, and half-marathon-- the events that are more popular.
Those events will now have more staff. Organizers are looking into adding live entertainment to the routes.
Without a marathon, the event will now end earlier, hopefully causing less traffic issues downtown.
Rogers says he isn't surprised to see the changes.
"You just don't see that many in June because it's just such a hot time, so you got to drink a little bit more water than you usually would. You have to eat a little bit more than you usually would during the run,” he said.
Organizers are hoping moving the finish-line back to the stadium this year will help draw in more than 10,000 participants.
The race is on June 2, you can register here: https://runsignup.com/Race/IN/SouthBend/SunburstRaces