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The Business of a Marathon

A look at the companies that provided the finishers' medals, recycling bins, timing, and heat-reflective blankets to the 14th annual Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, Cincinnati | 05.01.11 8:27 A.M.

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Finishers' Medals
Each of the 30,000 runners who took part in the 14th annual Flying Pig Marathon and accompanying relay, half-marathon, 10K, and 5K races received a 3-ounce medallion featuring a grinning pig with wings. CEO Sharon Janis-Rochford co-founded Maxwell Medals & Awards of Traverse City, Michigan, in 1975. Today, it has 30 employees and makes medals, plaques, pins, patches, and trophies for some 7,500 customers worldwide.

Recycling Bins
On race day, runners and spectators threw more than a ton of bottles, cans, and other recyclable materials into 75 green cardboard recycling bins provided by Rumpke Recycling, which also hauled away the refuse. Brothers William and Bernard Rumpke founded Rumpke's parent company, Rumpke Consolidated, in 1932. Now headed by William's son, Bill, the $450 million Cincinnati company has 2,300 employees and recycles some 250,000 tons of trash each year.

Timing and Results
When Amy McDonaugh, the top female finisher, crossed the finish line of the marathon, her time of two hours, 58 minutes, and 14 seconds was recorded by End Result of Bettendorf, Iowa. The company recorded runners' times using radio-frequency identification tags tied to their shoes and antennas embedded in mats along the marathon route; the technology allows End Result to provide live updates via text message and on the Flying Pig website. Runner Mike Ducy founded the 17-person company in 1982 and sold it to three of his employees, Josh Drew, Kevin Jandt, and Tim McKinnon, in 2009.

Heat-Reflective Blankets
Runners often have a hard time retaining body heat after a race. At the finish line, Flying Pig participants received heat-reflective polyethylene blankets made by Advanced Flexible Materials in Petaluma, California. David Deigan, an avid runner, founded Advanced Flexible Materials in 1980. Today, his roughly $5 million company has five employees and provides blankets to 400 races, triathlons, and cycling events around the world, including the New York City and London marathons.

 

Video Transcript

00:07 Eric Markowitz: The Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio has grown from 6,000 runners in 1999 to over 31,000 in 2011. To coordinate all the different parts of the race, the organizers need some help from several small businesses. The finish line and results are provided by End Result of Bettendorf, Iowa. In addition to the Flying Pig, End Result has timed the Boston Marathon and Ironman competitions among several other races around the country.

00:36 Markowitz: The heat-reflective blankets help the runners cool down at a more controlled rate at the end of the race. Provided by Advanced Flexible Materials of Petaluma, California, the blankets are made of food-grade plastic and are recyclable.

00:49 Markowitz: Of course, at the end of the race, everyone wants the medals. The participant medals are provided by Maxwell Medals and Awards of Traverse City, Michigan and feature a three-dimensional flying pig with a smile.

01:00 Markowitz: Finally, the bottles and cans left by the racers and crowd of over 150,000 has to be taken away by someone. Since 2009, Rumpke Recycling of Cincinnati has hauled away the recyclables, which can weigh more than one ton. And that is the business of a marathon.

The Business of a Marathon

A look at the companies that provided the finishers' medals, recycling bins, timing, and heat-reflective blankets to the 14th annual Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati

IMAGE: Kevin Cooley
From the July/August 2011 issue of Inc. magazine




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