Plans in motion for York County's first-ever marathon
COLUMN By STEVE HEISER The York Dispatch
Posted: 12/24/2008 07:05:47 AM EST
Sean Potts has big plans.
"I believe this has a chance to be one of the biggest sporting events ever to be held in York County," he said.
That may seem like a mighty ambitious goal for a first-year sports endeavor. But Potts seems to have the organizational and financial support necessary to back up that statement.
What's he talking about? The Bob Potts Heritage Rail Trail Marathon -- the first marathon ever held entirely inside of York County.
Potts is the co-director of the race, along with his sister, Robin Myers. It's being held Sunday, May 31, in memory of their father, who ran more than 30 marathons before dying two years ago while competing in a New Jersey triathlon. Bob Potts was a founding member of the York Road Runners Club, which is heavily involved in the organization of the Rail Trail Marathon.
Clay Shaw, who probably knows more about marathon running than any man in York County, is also a driving force behind the run. He's finished more than 150 of the 26.2-mile races. His expertise should be invaluable.
"I couldn't do it without him," said Potts, who is a Central York Middle School teacher and the Central York High School cross country coach.
Potts also appears to have the sponsorship money necessary to run an event of this magnitude. He's already lined up Ettline Foods (where Bob Potts worked), Flying Feet, the York Water Co., Hammer Nutrition and Orthopedic and Spine Specialists. In addition, the Yorktowne Hotel will serve as the run's
With that kind of support, Potts said "this can put York on the marathon map."
The run will be capped at 400 runners and the race is already at nearly 100. He said the field could be filled by early April. The fact that it only costs $50 to enter should help encourage entrants, especially locals who don't want to spend big money on faraway races in a tight economy.
The race will also act as a Boston Marathon qualifier, which could attract runners who dream of competing in the most historic marathon of them all. The relatively flat Rail Trail run should produce good times, especially with a 6:30 a.m. start that avoids the heat of the day. And, if you need another reason to enter, the proceeds will go to good causes -- the Bob Potts Scholarship Fund and the Rail Trail.
When you put it all together, it seems like all the ingredients are there for a successful annual event.
Yes, Sean Potts has a mighty ambitious plan. But you don't achieve something big by thinking small.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 854-1575, ext. 455. Read his blog, "Chip Shots and Parting Shots," at the Blogzone at yorkdispatch.com. For information on the Rail Trail Marathon, visit www.bobpottsmarathon.com.