Connemara Marathon 2003
Huge boost for tourism in Connemara as runners, walkers and supporters descend on the area for marathon
The popularity of the Connemara International Marathon has grown to such an extent, since the first race last September, that entries have gone up by over 90 per cent for this years event. Interest in the race has exploded and it has captured the imagination of over 1,000 runners and walkers who will participate in this years full marathon (26.2 miles / 42km) and half marathon (13.1 miles / 21 km) on the 30th March 2003.
And the recipe for this kind of success? Ray O'Connor, race director and founder has tapped into the psyche of marathon runners and walkers and delivered what they want; a challenging, complex route, breathtaking scenery, fresh air away from city pollution and the support and enthusiasm of the local Connemara people. Yet simultaneously he has found an innovative way of marketing Connemara and encouraging people to return to the area year after year to follow and participate in a sport they love. Rays background in marketing as founder of marketing/design company Proactive has helped him position the marathon internationally and promote it effectively using the Internet, public relations, advertising and exhibitions with support from Ireland West Tourism and GaelSaoire. He has spent months generating excitement about the marathon on newsgroups and discussing it on the online Connemara marathon communities. He says, I would prefer to get five people enthusiastic about the marathon than tell fifty people because those five people will enthuse a further five hundred people. Its simple Maths. The marathon has been so well marketed on the Internet that an incredible eighty-five per cent of entries have been submitted online.
The conception of the Fintrax Connemara International Marathon heralds a whole new age of outside the box marathon running that is growing in popularity in far corners of the globe. For marathoners, the severity of the routes uphill climbs will challenge even the most ambitious runners and walkers. For locals, the marathon will bring business and visitor spending to this sometimes neglected area during a quiet time in the season. The benefits have even extended to the hotel and tourist business in the Galway city area. People have been booking accommodation for that weekend from Galway to Spiddal and out to Clifden.
The Fintrax Group has added strength to the marathon as the main sponsors of the 2003 event. Headquartered at Ballinahown, Connemara, The Fintrax Group is an international, financial transactions company who has developed innovative credit card point of sale solutions and automated tourist tax refund services. With operations worldwide, The Fintrax Group is helping to lift the profile of the marathon in many countries as well as bring hundreds of visitors to Ireland off-season.