Marine Corps Marathon Succeeds With Social Media

Photo: Running USA

Website, Facebook, Twitter, App & Text Messaging generates 11 million potential impressions.

From: Running USA

QUANTICO, Va. — The enthusiasm, intensity and energy of runners and spectators at the 37th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) was the culmination of an effective and unparalleled online and social media community-building effort that reached a potential audience in excess of 11 million individuals following the Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 event held in Arlington, Va., and the nation’s capital. The comprehensive communication effort was anchored by a dynamic and inspiring Facebook page, an informative website – , an upgraded web-based navigational support application and a runner tracking service that provided instant updates of runners’ times from the course via email or text message, over an individual’s Twitter feed or on a participant’s Facebook page.

The MCM’s runner tracking service boasted more users-per-runner than any other event in the history of participatory sports and represented the largest penetration of messaging/social media ever for the service. More than 84,000 individuals registered for the program, which is an 83 percent increase over 2011, the year the service was first introduced at the MCM.

The vibrant MCM Facebook page reached a new zenith during MCM Weekend cresting at 60,000 active likes. Sharing behind-the-scenes information, interesting photos, event updates and runner motivation, the event’s Facebook page tallied just under three million impressions during the month of October.

Runners shared excitement, nerves and observations up to, during and after the event through posts that included “So excited can hardly stand it. I have done hundreds of marathons in my 66 years but have never been this excited! I feel like it’s the first time!” and “The 37th MCM was my first marathon, and I’m already going through ‘post partum’ separation, missing the training and, of course, the MCM itself. I am literally counting the days until registration opens for the 2013 MCM.”

The MCM website hosted 57 percent more visits in October 2012 than the same month last year and enjoyed a bump of 60 percent more traffic on event day. “Beat the Arch,” a fun and informative video produced by MCMtv to answer runner questions posted on the MCM Facebook page, had just under 9,000 views and the MCM Weekend photo album presented through Flickr was viewed over 56,000 times.

The impressive MCM Weekend numbers are wholly consistent with the entirety of the 2012 online experience for MCM participants. Online registration for the 37th MCM set a U.S. record for major marathons by selling out in just 2 hours and 41 minutes on March 7. A runner survey conducted by the MCM showed that 37 percent of the runners were motivated by the event’s Facebook page to register.

MCM Locator, a web-based application first introduced in 2011, intended to serve spectators and runners with exact GPS positioning for on-course sites including mile markers, water points and aid stations experienced a
275 percent increase in sessions and a 415 percent increase in pageviews. The service added new features including current Metro system wait times and anticipated runner arrival times based on pace-per-mile.

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