Thursday, May 7, 2009

WalMart Marathon

I was running today and had so many thoughts that I left the iPod and Nike+ at home (that and I can't find the little shoe sensor but that's irrelevant). One of my initial thoughts was how soon do I have to take the sirloin burgers out of the freezer so that they will be ready for tonight. I decided that I would take them out as soon as I finished my run (which of course forgot to do when I got home.) Then there was the e-mail from Amy at The Runner's Lounge inviting me to share my writing with other fellow runner bloggers. The other thought (and the one I am going to write about) is the fact that I think more businesses should get involved in sponsoring runners or better yet create the races among their companies. I devised a strategy for the large retailer in my area to sponsor a marathon. You know, I think this is undiscovered country. I'm not talking about the retailer sponsoring a race. I'm suggesting the retailer create the race around their store.

My initial thought was of my local WalMarts. I hopped on the scientific race mapping software online called Mapquest to map out the distance between the 3 WalMarts that are within my area (there are quite a few more, but then this would become an ultramarathon and we're not talking about that). I discovered that it is approximately 24.6 miles between the three locations. All they would have to do is have the runners run around the store a couple times or zig zag through some residential neighborhood and they would have a full blown marathon on their hands.

What would be even better would be if part of the race was through the store. It would be like WalMart on the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe that is how they would expand it to be 26.2. Think of the product placement opportunities. Think of the subconscious methods of advertising. Think of where people can be cheering the racers. Racing spectators could line up along the produce aisle (if it is a super WalMart), the lingerie aisle and the toy aisle.

Now, they would have to come up with a theme. Maybe "Race for Parents who go to WalMart on a Date" or "Race for Falling Prices" or "Race for the Cure to Carnivorianmultiplexus (CVP)." There needs to be a theme. Without a theme, no one will come (except maybe store employees that are forced to come or some of those maniac shoppers who hear there may be free gatorade).

You might be thinking to yourself, "Yes, this works for retail chains, but what about office buildings?" Hah...I thought of that about the time I hit the top of the hill on my run this morning. Business offices have an even greater advantage. You see, runners would have to go up stairs to the top then back down another set. You can't get any more grueling a hill than that. They could even offer the elevators, but the risk of the elevator is time. Do you want to save your legs and lose time or conquer a grueling 4 stories and shave 2-3 minutes on your time?

The WalMart marathon would earn any runner their stripes and maybe even get them a new running jacket (those are located on aisle 6).