Wineglass Marathon & Hilo Marathon Directors Meet
CORNING, NEW YORK – One of the most challenging distances in racing is being able to finish a full marathon, 26.2-miles.
In 1986 it became the crown jewel in my running accomplishments when I finished my first 26.2-mile race, the Honolulu Marathon. During the months of preparation I continued to tell myself that this would be my first and the last marathon, as the preparation was taking its toll.
When I crossed the finish line on that beautiful Honolulu December morning I realized that this marathon was going to be the first of many more to come.
While the world has seen a fluctuation in the infatuation of marathon running we don’t have to look hard to find a 26.2-mile race somewhere on the planet today.
According to Marathon Guide writer, John Elliot, there are 800 marathon races in the world in 2010 and half of them are found here in the U.S.A.
It didn’t take me long while on vacation in upstate New York to bump into the race director of the Wineglass Marathon in Corning.
Mark Landin is an avid runner himself and has spent years on the road either running in races or in hosting them.
When I met Landin he was just recovering from putting together a first time race for the City of Corning, an 8K (just short of 5-miles) that coincided with a Glass Festival.
“First time events are always difficult to coordinate,” Landin said. “The City wanted to find something to replace the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) which had their final event last year due to financial reason. That’s why they came up with the idea to host a Glass Festival and have a road race to go along with it.”
Landin, like most race organizers around the country, is relied upon by the community to use his knowledge and expertise to put on events that attract outside residents and promote tourism.
Coming up later this year is the 29th Annual Wineglass Marathon which attract close to 800 marathoners each year. If you’re wondering why the Corning Marathon is called the “Wine Glass” it’s because Corning Ware and Corning Glass come from this part of the country.
Corning also host the world largest glass museum and is famous worldwide for its elegant work.
Recently voters in a Runners World survey selected the Wineglass Marathon as the “speediest” 26.2-mile race in the nation.
“Our cool fall temperatures, and relatively flat course, makes for fast times by most people,” Landin said. The event is held during the first week in October (Oct. 3, this year) and is considered one of the most spectacular as all the trees leaves are turning colors.
Landin was the director of the Wineglass Marathon from 1993 to ’97 before moving to Asia. “My job with Corning, Inc sent me to Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai from 1998 to 2001,” Landin said.
Once Landin got back from Asia he was quickly recruited back to organizing the Wineglass event. It was Landin who redesigned the course to its “speediest” status. “We had previously had a course that started at the bottom of a long hill, about 4-miles from where we start today,” he said.
By changing the course Landin was able to get the finish line moved to downtown Corning which made it relatively flat with a slight downhill net elevation drop making for a super fast qualifying course for those interested in trying to make the Boston Marathon.
“I expect that with the positive articles from Runner’s World over the past few years we will continue to grow as we are considered by many to be a “best kept secret” in terms of a race in this part of the country,” Landin said.
Hilo’s own, David Hammes, a professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii – Hilo was in Corning this past October and had rave reviews for the fast course and the many amenities that went with finishing the race.
“I found the mementos quite unique in that finishers were given a half split bottle of champagne, a nice finisher’s shirt with Wineglass motif and a glass finisher’s medal,” Hammes said. “If I’m ever in the area again I would definitely do this race a second time.”
“We usually get one or two marathoners from Hawaii each year,” Landin said. “Most of our runners come from states where the driving time to Corning is five hours or less.”
Landin is the type of race director that most runners appreciate having, as he is a runner himself. Runners make the best race directors as they know what other runners like and appreciate about doing their event. Landin can even brag about having a sub-par 3 hour marathon time under his belt.
“I’ve been a runner since high school, so I have 35 plus years and an estimated 30,000 plus miles on my legs,” Landin said.
If you’re looking to do a fast, well organized 26.2-mile marathon, that is certified and a Boston qualifier, then take a look at making a trip to upstate New York in October.