Race 13.1 lands new sponsor

Race 13.1, a Raleigh company that produces half-marathon races, announced Thursday that it has signed Michelob Ultra as the official beer sponsor for two of next year’s races.

Sponsorships are a major source of revenue for the business, said Race 13.1 founder and CEO John Kane.

Founded in 2011, the company has grown from holding 5 races in North Carolina last year to holding 20 races in seven states this year, said Kane. Next year it expects to hold more than 25 races in 10 states.

Kane – the son of John Kane, the developer of the North Hills shopping center – said landing Michelob Ultra as a sponsor is a coup because large national brands often consider racing events in mid-sized cities too small to bother with. But next year, he added, the company projects that its races will attract more than 25,000 participants in the aggregate – on par with the Los Angeles Marathon.

Race 13.1, which has 7 full-time employees and a handful of part-timers, raised $750,000 in funding at the end of 2013 from Raleigh investment firm Lookout Capital.

Since then revenue has grown by more than 650 percent, said Kane, who also is an operating partner at Lookout.

Michelob Ultra will be the beer sponsor for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Race 13.1 events scheduled for next spring and next fall in Raleigh.

After the races, runners of legal age will receive one free beer – a Michelob Ultra, of course.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii