After 10 years of racing to raise money for Mercy Hospital’s Cancer Center, the A2A Marathon will call it quits after 2019.
Since the foundation started the event in 2009, the same core group of volunteers and organizers have been running it. Mercy Health Foundation development coordinator Shannon Steele said rather than watch the marathon decline over time, they decided to end it on a high note, with a celebratory final year.
“We have averaged about $100 thousand every year,” Steele said. “Our plan is to make it the 10th year and the million dollar race.”
As organizers prepare for this year’s race, plans for next year are already being made. The board is already talking about how to make the final year special with an early registration and a special dinner for survivors.
“We’re going to invite everyone who came through the center for treatment, along with runners, sponsors and everyone the night before,” Steele said.
The dinner would take place the Saturday before the race. Steele said there have been pre-race dinners in the past, but they’ve always been carbfests aimed at preparing runners for the big day.
“We have some runners who’ve never missed an A2A, that have run every single one,” Steele said.
Money raised by the run has been used to buy equipment at the cancer center, like vein illuminators and automatic defibrillator machines.
“It’s more about new equipment and things that directly impact the patient, rather than furniture or new paint on the walls,” Steele said.
Steele said every year roughly 1,000 runners have participated in the marathon, which is a Boston Marathon qualifier, with the lowest attendance at about 900 and the highest at 1,600. Volunteer turnout has been steady as well, with between 500 and 600 participating every year. Steele said that while the race has been successful for the past eight years, enthusiasm and attendance could wane over time.
“Not only could we have donor fatigue, but this race is completely run by volunteers,” Steele said. “A lot of them have been doing it for the last nine years and they get tired. We wanted to have a big celebration and send it off that way.”
Registration for this year’s A2A marathon is open until March 25. To register, visit a2amarathon.com or call Mercy Health Foundation’s office at 580-220-6712.