> The 33rd Presentation > Photos, Media & More > Press/Media > Marathon Gives Back to County

Marathon Gives Back to County

EDITORIAL PAGE                                      

April 28, 2002


Marathon Gives Back to County  


The best runners in today's Big Sur International Marathon will finish the race in under three hours, but the event has long-lasting benefits for Monterey County. Since it started in 1985, the run and its related events have raised $967,000 for schools and organizations. This year, the figure will easily push that total past the million-dollar mark. "It might have taken 17 years to reach $1 million, but it won't take another 17 to reach $2 million," predicts Dr. Hugo Ferlito, a Monterey dentist active in the event since its start and chairman of the board since 1997. In addition to putting on a world-class race, the mission of Big Sur marathon organizers is to raise money for the health and welfare of the area. Proceeds have helped pay for everything from musical instruments for schools to a new firehouse for Big Sur's Mid-Coast Volunteer Fire Brigade. Big Sur groups are the biggest recipients, getting half the money raised each year, with the rest spread around the county. Money is awarded two ways. Schools share a contribution from Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula based on their participation in the 5K run held on marathon day. And groups that provide volunteers to help put on the marathon and the Health and Fitness Expo are eligible for grants. That typically draws 2,000 volunteers, who can be seen at various events. Boy and Girl Scouts fold T-shirts, stuff envelopes, hand out water and Gatorade at the finish line and pick up garbage left behind. Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers register participants at the expo. Colton Middle School's band plays along the course.

Last year, $145,000 in grants was awarded and $9,000 went to schools through the 5K program. Organizers say entry fees typically cover the cost of putting on the event and money from sponsors is what goes to the charitable groups, service clubs and schools that help out. Marathon backers entered this year with some trepidation, fearing the economy might dampen contributions. One sponsor did drop out, but three new ones signed on, and organizers expect to set a new fund-raising record. The fact that organizers have to turn away runners every year shows that they are meeting their mission of putting on a world-class event. And the growing amount of funds raised each year shows that they're succeeding at their companion goal of supporting the health and welfare of the region.

-- end --