Letter from the prez-Nov. 2017

Posted by Pete Abraham    

Last month we talked about the declining number of finishers in most of the local half marathons.  The Brewer’s Mini Marathon which was held in mid-September continued the downward trend as the number of finishers declined from over 1,800 in 2016 to 1,400+ in 2017.  One of the changes the running industry has seen in recent years is the deluge of advertising, much of it aimed at 13.1 and 26.2 distances. With 19 races the Striders spend a fraction of what some other events put into ads. We rely on our membership and reputation for staging great events at bargain prices.  “Word of mouth” is by far our best advertising!  Ever wonder just how effective these ads are?


In 2016 there were roughly 505,000 marathon finishers. 255,000 of those runners finished in one of the 15 largest marathons in America. The remaining 250,000 were shared by the other 1,085 marathons in 2016 – about 230 per race on average. It also works out to around 5,000 marathoners per state. Between the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, Green Bay’s Cellcom, the Madison Marathon and the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha there were a total of 4,909 finishers. If you consider there are another 15 to 20 smaller marathons in Wisconsin and with Chicago, Minneapolis and Grandma’s being in close proximity you have to wonder if our market is pretty well tapped out.


Back to the subject of advertising. If you advertise to sell Brewer tickets, movie passes or Summerfest tickets you have a pretty large audience since almost anyone that sees your ad can go to one of those events. If you advertise for a marathon you are looking at a pretty small group of potential customers, and you can’t just create more marathoners. About all you can do is to get them to switch from another event to yours.


So the Striders have made a deal with the local running community. Over the years we have spent most of our ‘advertising’ budget on giving you one of the best Marathon deals anywhere! In turn, you guys have spread the word about our great event! Thanks everyone. The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon really is, ‘ by runners, for runners!’


Pete Abraham
Strider president