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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
‘Fun while it lasted’: Cedar Rapids-Iowa City marathon will not return in 2023
Run CRANDIC race director cites staffing, logistical challenges
An annual spring marathon connecting Iowa City and Cedar Rapids will not return in 2023.
Jim Dwyer, the race director and Corridor Running co-president, said organizers are discontinuing Run CRANDIC due to logistical and staffing issues, including getting enough volunteers and public safety officers to work the race.
Dwyer, who also co-owns Iowa Running Company in downtown Cedar Rapids, said the marathon requires about 75 to 100 public safety personnel from six agencies to secure the race route.
“It’s not ability to pay. It’s more of a staffing issue, really,” said Dwyer, who said a portion of the race entry fee covers street closures and the cost of providing for off-duty police officers, sheriff’s deputies and other security personnel.
Dwyer, who was traveling, said he did not have figures readily available on the cost to staff the marathon.
“It’s tougher for the public safety departments to get officers to work special events,” Dwyer said.
Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said he was not aware of any conversations “that would lead me to believe that we specifically were cause for their cancellation.”
He said agencies coordinate such events as races through the deputy sheriff protective association. Deputies volunteer for the “extra jobs.” The organizer pays the protective association an hourly rate for each deputy, with the rate varying by security risks and notification timing, Gardner said.
Representatives of other public safety agencies along the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City route were not available for comment Friday.
The race — named after the shortline railroad connecting Cedar Rapids and Iowa City — began in 2018 as a partnership among the Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Corridor Running.
The race was handed off to Corridor Running, a nonprofit, in 2019, when the route was switched from Iowa City to Cedar Rapids.
In its first two years, more than 5,000 individuals participated in the marathon, half marathon and 5K races, which raised nearly $70,000 for Iowa City and Cedar Rapids schools.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life. The 26.2-mile springtime marathon was held virtually in 2020 and canceled in 2021 before returning in April 2022.
More than 1,000 people participated in Run CRANDIC this year, Dwyer said.
“We were itching to get back in person in 2022, which we were able to cobble together and do,” he said. “But, after reconvening post-race and kind of seeing where we are at as a board, we decided that we couldn’t successfully put on CRANDIC and have it be up to our standards. … It was a harsh reality.”
From a logistical standpoint, Dwyer said Run CRANDIC proved to be Corridor Running’s most challenging race to put on due to its size, length and coordination with multiple municipalities.
“A race of that size, it needs more than” a 10-member, all-volunteer board, he said. “And it needs a paid race director.”
Dwyer said Corridor Running has no plans to replace Run CRANDIC with a new event. Instead, he said the Corridor Running board is focused on enhancing and expanding the race experience of its five other races in 2023:
- FreezeFest 5k (February)
- Marion Arts Festival 5k & Half Marathon (May)
- Fifth Seasons 8k & 5k (July 4)
- NewBo 10k & Half Marathon (Labor Day)
- North Shore Trail Races (October)
“This club has had races come and go throughout the years and this is just another one, unfortunately,” Dwyer said. “It was fun while it lasted. … You had your urban parts, and you had your scenic, rural parts — a little mix of everything.”
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