Route 66 Marathon organizers expect 20,000 people to walk or run through Tulsa this weekend and there will be an economic impact of about $5 million.
Fleet Feet’s Tim Dreiling, an organizer of the race for all seven years it has been running, says this is the biggest and busiest shopping weekend of the year for him, not next week’s “Black Friday.”
“This is our big weekend,” said Dreiling. “We are really geared up and every single one of my employees is working. Black Friday for us is not such a big deal but this is where we got a lot invested.”
He has 80 vendors this year at the Route 66 Marathon Expo at the downtown Tulsa Convention Center. 23 of those booths are Fleet Feet booths.
10,500 runners will participate in either a run or a relay this weekend. Last year there were 7,500.
“We were running 100 percent over last year’s registration,” said Dreiling. “We could have signed up 5,000 more people, but we decided, as the directors of the event, to cap it to produce a good race. We have 2,000 volunteers, so we didn’t want to grow by 5,000 people and not have enough support to put on a good race.”
He also said they have 100 people on their medical team for the races on Saturday and Sunday and 160,000 cups for water and Gatorade stops. A stop will be at every two mile marker along the 26.2 mile course.
About 20 percent of the racers are from out of state. About 70 percent of them are from out of Tulsa and ten racers are participating from different countries, including a runner from Israel. He is a veteran from the Israeli military and is an amputee and will be running with a prosthetic leg.
Dreiling says all the downtown hotels have been sold out for months and also some of the hotels in South Tulsa and near Riverside.