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Contact(s):Geneva Hampton

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It Is the 7th Wonder of the Marathon World; Little Rock Marathon Unveils Unique 2009 Marathon Finisher’s Medal

(Little Rock, February 12, 2009) – Little Rock Marathon race officials unveiled the 2009 version of the world’s largest marathon finisher’s medal during a press conference today.

The Little Rock Marathon is presented by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and will be held March 13 – 15 in downtown Little Rock.

“For five year running we have been recognized as having the world’s largest marathon finisher’s medal and for our seventh year, we decided step outside the box again with something completely different,” Gina Marchese Pharis, Co-Executive Director of the Little Rock Marathon.

“Anyone can give a big medal, that is the easy part,” she said, “but we wanted to add drama to this year’s awards.”

”We make so much fuss over our finisher’s medal because most of us (marathoner finishers) are not doing the race to win it,” Pharis said. “We are doing the race to finish. It is a big accomplishment and we think you should get a medal that represents what you just accomplished.”

“Our race is known for coming up with something fun and different each year,” Pharis said. “Athletes come from around the world to take our medal home. Only a few take home money and when it is all said and done the one thing so many cherish is that medal. They run for the hardware and every finisher takes home hardware.”

The 2009 Little Rock Marathon finisher’s medal is black zinc alloy and is 7 1/4 inches long and 6 1/4 inches wide. The medal features the 2009 circus theme and weighs in at a pound and a half. The medal features the race’s signature globe, race director’s kiss and the “race for every pace” motto.

According to Jon Scott of Maxwell Medals & Awards of Traverse City, MI, the average finisher’s medal is 2.5 inches and weighs approximately 3 ounces. Maxwell Medals & Awards produces the Little Rock Marathon finisher medals, as well as medals for major races including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Race for the Cure.

The half marathon finisher’s medal also features the 2009 race theme and is half the length of the marathon medal. According to Pharis, it is “half the distance (13.1 miles), so it is half the size” of the marathon medal. It is 3 5/8 long by 3 inches wide.

Race day is Sunday, March 15. In addition to the marathon (26.2 miles), there is a half marathon (13.1 miles) race, presented by Baptist Health; a 4 person relay marathon (26.2 miles divided into four segments) race, presented by Alltel Wireless; a 5K (3.1 miles) un run/walk, presented by Windstream Communications and the Classic Rockers Marathon (for individuals 55+ who complete 26.2 miles over an extended time frame).

The Little Rockers Kids Marathon (26.2 miles completed over an extended time frame), presented by Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Today’s THV, for children 7 to 12 is Saturday, March 14 at 11 am.

Participants in all events can run, walk or do a combination of running and walking in any of the events.

Prior to race day, there is a free two-day health and fitness expo, presented by Arvest Bank, on March 13 and 14 at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.

Race officials also announced highlights of the 2009 event, which include a new start time for the 5K Fun Run and start corrals for the general field. The 5K fun run will begin at 7:15 am.

Online registration and mail in registration for the Little Rock Marathon and companion races will close March 2 at midnight CST and will re-open March 13-14 if maximum registration limits have not been reached.

Race weekend is also sponsored in part by AARP Arkansas, Abbott Point of Care, Arkansas Department of Health - Tobacco Prevention & Cessation, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Arkansas Lamination Products & Services Inc., Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics, Ben E. Keith Foods, Chick-fil-A, Clear Mountain Beverages/Premium Refreshment Services, Coleman Dairy, Conway Chamber of Commerce, Crowne Plaza Little Rock, Datamax of Arkansas, Diamond Bear Brewery, Easy Runner, EMS Innovations, Inc, Fence World, First United Methodist Church, Fox 16 News, Gatorade Sports Marketing, Grace Communications, Hammer Nutrition, Hatcher Agency (presenting sponsor of the Perks Pavilion), Heart Clinic Arkansas (presenting sponsor of the 2009 training program and provider of race day medical services), Heart of Arkansas, Image One, KKPT The Point, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Magna 4 Printing, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, Peabody Little Rock (presenting sponsor of the Pasta Party), Pepsi Americas, Philips Medical Systems, Road Safe Traffic, Roller Funeral Home, Stellar Sun, Fiser Truck & Tractor/Twin City Tractor & Equipment, University of Phoenix (presenting sponsor of Athlete’s Village), UPS, Verizon Wireless, and Whole Hog Café (presenting sponsor of the Post Race Party).

For information, visit or call 501-371-4770.

Little Rock Parks and Recreation (LRPR) oversees 53 parks, four community centers, the Adult Leisure Center, War Memorial Fitness Center, four swimming pools, two tennis centers, the River Market, the Riverfest Amphitheatre, three golf courses, and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The LRPR system includes more than 5,000 acres of designated parks and open space. In addition, the organization offers a wide-range of youth and adult recreational and sports leagues, after-school and summer playground programs for children ages 6-15, outdoor recreation, therapeutic recreation and programs for seniors. Funds raised will continue to support parks and recreational programs for all ages. For more information about Little Rock Parks & Recreation please visit

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