See ya later, Thunder Road. The city’s marathon is getting a new name.
The marathon announced this morning that it’s changing its name to the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon, ditching the Thunder Road name that it had in its first 11 years of existence.
“We have always been proud to be Charlotte’s marathon, and what better way to honor our hometown race than by naming it after our great city,” Race Director Tim Rhoades said in a release.
Also, branding. Think about other big cities: The Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the Myrtle Beach Marathon. (What, you think Myrtle Beach doesn’t belong on that list?) With this change, the city’s name is linked to the big race in a way it wasn’t before.
The slogan — “Our Streets. Our City. Our Marathon. #runcharlotte” — reinforces the idea that organizers are really trying to brand this as a distinctly Charlotte thing.
So what’s changing?
The name, really. That’s about it.
The event still has a marathon, half marathon, 5K, marathon relay and 1-mile kids fun run.
It’s still a Boston Marathon Qualifier.
It still winds through uptown, Dilworth, Myers Park South End, NoDa, Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth.
The marathon is still 26.2 miles, which is still a long way.
Why was it named Thunder Road in the first place?
Organizers of the marathon asked for name nominations from the community and Thunder Road won the naming contest, according to Ashleigh Lawrence, creative brand manager of the Charlotte Marathon.
“While it’s a tip-of-the-hat to Charlotte’s rich stock car heritage, it also represented the high energy and excitement you would find at an event like a marathon,” she said.
Should I run in it?
Hey, that’s up to you.
If you want to run, the Charlotte Marathon is Nov. 12. Register at www.runcharlotte.com.
Photos: Courtesy of Jenni Walker/Charlotte Marathon; John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer