Lake Tahoe Marathon televised – Fox sports, San Francisco |

Lake Tahoe Marathon televised – Fox sports, San Francisco

Sarah Gonser

Televising the Lake Tahoe Marathon was an 11th-hour decision last year, for which race director Les Wright had to scramble for funding.

Luckily, Douglas County made a one-time $10,000 contribution to televise the 1998 event – seed money to get the marathon up and running.

This year, with the benefit of hindsight and larger contributions from various sources, Wright has managed to organize prime-time coverage for the marathon on FOX Sports Net Bay Area – with two guaranteed showings and the option for FOX affiliates to air the event throughout the year as filler.

“Getting the televised coverage last year was very last minute, and we had to take whatever slots were available,” Wright said. “This year, because we got it approved early, we have a prime-time slot – that’s great exposure for the marathon, as well as for Tahoe.”

Marathon publicist Mike Traum said he anticipates more than 2,000 participants this year, up from 1,600 last year. So far, according to Wright, approximately 1,200 runners have signed-up. The fourth annual marathon is scheduled as the grand finale of “Race Week,” which lasts Oct. 2 through 10, and begins with the Kokanee Salmon Festival.

“By bringing together all these events, Tahoe is receiving hundreds of guests for an entire week, instead of just one weekend,” Wright said.

The FOX coverage is being funded by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, according to executive director Terry LeBan, after supplemental funds were turned over to the Visitors Authority from the city of South Lake Tahoe.

“When we got our adjustment check from the city, we were able to turn around and use those additional revenues to contribute $15,500 to the October ’99 marathon,” LeBan said. “Originally, we were looking at a much smaller budget this year, so Camp Richardson threw in $5,000 for October ’99 as well. We didn’t expect to be able to contribute that amount when we worked out our 1998-’99 budget.”

Wright said the North Tahoe Resort Association threw in $2,500 for advertising this year as well. The $15,500 Visitors Authority contribution is the largest source of funding for the marathon as of yet – and one from which the Visitors Authority fully expects to reap the benefits.

“Most of the reasoning behind this is to gain some of the commercial time airing on the FOX channel. We’ll be able to promote the 1(800) AT-TAHOE number as well as commercial air service,” LeBan said. “As long as Les (Wright) has been coming to us for money, we’ve been trying to support the marathon to get it off the ground. It seems he’s finally increasing his sponsors now, and we’re strongly encouraging him to do so.”

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