The Lost Dutchman Marathon Committee has received the Rural Special Event award from the Governor’s Office of Tourism. The award was presented Tuesday June 23, to marathon board treasurer Jodi Ehrlich and marathon board member Bob Benjamin during the Governor’s Office of Tourism Awards Gala.
The achievement was also recognized by the Apache Junction City Council during its regular meeting July 7 in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.
“There is no other marathon like it anywhere else,” Councilman Jeff Serdy, who serves on the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Committee board, said during a phone interview. “About 600 volunteers from all over the community donate their time. People love it. And now the marathon committee can use this in their marketing, and it will put the whole city on the map as an international tourism destination.”
The Lost Dutchman Marathon is organized by Lost Dutchman Marathon, Inc., a public charity run by an all-volunteer board of directors. The race includes a 2K fun run, 8K trail run, a 10K, a half marathon and a full marathon, according to a press release. The full marathon begins at the base of the Superstition Mountains, with many marathoners gathering around the pre-dawn campfires. The Superstitions and other nearby mountain ranges also serve as the backdrops for the shorter races.
The marathon course is certified by U.S.A. Track and Field and can be used as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Due to the variety of distances offered, the weather and unique setting, the event draws all types of runners/walkers from serious marathoners from around the world to walking groups and everyone in-between.
Race proceeds are donated to local groups in the community. Since the marathon’s inception in 2002, more than $447,000 has been donated to organizations that serve Apache Junction. The success of the event relies on the volunteer board of directors, support of community volunteers and strong partnerships.
The marathon’s founding partners include the city of Apache Junction, Pinal County and the Apache Junction Unified School District. Throughout the last 14 years, the marathon has also developed strong partnerships with the Superstition Fire and Medical District, the Arizona Repeater Association and the Rotary Club of Superstition Mountain.
Through partnerships, the committee is able to secure volunteers in order to donate as much as possible back to the community. The 2015 event utilized approximately 815 community volunteers including neighborhood and resident groups, local youth sports and civic groups and individuals wanting to be part of the event, according to the release.
The race consistently draws up to one-fourth of its participants from outside of Arizona. In 2015, 24.63 percent of racers were from outside Arizona. There were 751 participants who traveled from 48 states and 10 countries: Canada, Germany, Finland, Italy, Denmark, China, Austria, Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom, according to the release.
Many of the participants are first-time visitors to Arizona and plan subsequent visits or extended stays once they realize all that Arizona has to offer, according to the release.
Each year the marathon benefits the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon area through increased tourism, donated funds to local nonprofits, providing a positive opportunity to engage citizens and providing an outstanding marathon experience, according to the release.
The 2016 marathon is Sunday, Feb. 14. For information about the course and to register, visit the marathon website.
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