Early registration for the 45th annual Arkansas Marathon and its companion events ends at 5 p.m. today.
Registrants will save $15 by pre-registering for the marathon, the Booneville 10K run, Bearcat 10K walk, or the Mayor’s 5K run/walk.
The event sponsor is the Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce. The organization’s executive director Stacey McCollough has employed, again this year, social media to help spread the word.
The event has its own website, Facebook page and Twitter feeds. Statistics say it is effective in getting the word out. One post, promoted through Facebook, last week was viewed 15,432 times. That post was a 12-day warning for anyone wanting to pre-register.
Whether that means an increase in runners, however is yet to be seen.
"I think we’re getting better known," said McCollough. "But I suspect that the return on this type of publicity is not immediate. I don’t think you’ll see an immediate leap (in participation) in the same year you see the leap in notice."
Nonetheless, it is working. McCollough said he received a call from an active duty military man in Texas who said he would be making the trip to run in the event. Incidentally active military personnel who present an ID when they arrive will receive a 20 percent refund of their registration fee, McCollogh said.
The website — (www.arkansasmarathon.org) — is open for registration and also contains course maps, McCollough said.
Of course anyone missing today’s deadline for registration can continue to register until the morning of the race.
"The only real reason we do pre-registration is we really want to make sure we’ve got enough T-shirts. We guarantee T-shirts for the pre-registrants," said McCollough. "We may have enough, we may not have enough for everybody else.
"We’ll get them one, they just may not have them the day of the race."
McCollough said the expense is what drives the limited T-shirt printing.
"We don’t make a ton of money on the marathon and we’re not extravagant with our expenditures," he said. "You have to. We’re still trying to grow this thing."
There were only 15 marathon runners in 2012.
After the 2012 edition of the race McCollough toyed with the idea of moving the race to the spring but decided against it.
"There are not very many marathons this time of year and we pick up a few people who are still wanting to get in a Boston (Marathon) qualifying event," said McCollough.
The certified course is a qualifier for the Boston event held each year in April.