Raleigh Report

Raleigh Rock 'n' Roll Marathon wins big at event for event planners

A sports-event magazine voting contest on the Internet has declared the 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Marathon and Half Marathon a winner.

The marathon ran a somewhat bumpy road in its first year, facing criticism for routing thousands of runners around churches on Palm Sunday, but it prevailed this month in Las Vegas when SportsTravel announced it was the "best new sports event," based on a poll on the website of Schneider Publishing.

The announcement came at the Travel, Events And Management in Sports Conference & Expo.

The Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Marathon and Half Marathon beat out such events as the USA Curling Arena National Championships and the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

Written releases about the awards didn't say how many people voted in the contest. Only one vote per email address was allowed. The Raleigh marathon, and several other nominees, canvassed for votes on Facebook.

In a written release from the city of Raleigh, Josh Furlow, vice president of the company, pointed to the award as independent confirmation of Competitor Group's "hard work and continued commitment" to its marathon-hosting craft.

To be eligible for an award, events had to have "superior organization," "superior experience" and a good venue, according to SportsTravel magazine.

"This prestigious award validates on a national level what we already know locally, that Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh is a first-class event," said Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, according to the written release.

The Raleigh marathon was part of a larger series of music-themed running events organized by Competitor Group , a for-profit company.

The marathon raised more than $250,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, though that total didn't come from registration fees. Instead, runners gathered donations themselves. Competitor Group also waived fees for 500 runners (out of about 11,000 registered runners) who raised money as part of "Team V."

A San Diego State University researcher hired by the marathon estimated the event brought about 18,000 visitors and $5.43 million in direct spending to the area.