Around Town

Move over, Thunder Road. Charlotte’s marathon has a new name

Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer
Photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

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.

Charlotte Marathon_Logo_Main_FINAL

Why?

“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.

Charlotte Marathon_Social Media Images_2

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.

Thunder Road Marathon
Thousands of runners surged from the start of the Thunder Road Marathon at 7:30am Saturday on Graham Street. If you are a runner, a walker, or wheel chair athlete in the Charlotte region the Novant Health Thunder Road Marathon had it all for you. An estimated 6,000 folks took part on Saturday Nov. 14, 2015. About 1,200 of those running the 26.2 miles of the marathon. The rest got their run on through several events including as a marathon relay team, a 1/2 marathon, a 5K run/walk, and a one mile fun run for kids. John D. Simmons jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Should I run in it?

Hey, that’s up to you.

We’ve written about what to expect, what to look for, how to watch it, and who you’re probably going to lose to, so you should be able to make an informed decision.

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

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