The Foundation is the parent organization for the iconic Big Sur International Marathon held on the last Sunday of April. It also directs the 15-year-old Monterey Bay Half Marathon formerly known as the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, the recently-held Salinas Valley Half Marathon, and the summer Run in the Name of Love 5K and 2K. In addition, the national award-winning JUST RUN® youth fitness program, based in Monterey County, is part of the Foundation’s offerings.
“It was very confusing to have our organization called by a race name, so we set out to clarify that the marathon and all of our races are part of an umbrella organization whose charter is to give back to the local community, said Doug Thurston, race director and executive director of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation.
The naming of the organization is part of an overall rebranding project undertaken by the marathon organization in late 2016. A new logo for both the Big Sur International Marathon and the Marathon Foundation have been developed, both using the recognizable Bixby Bridge in the artwork. The rebranding will also include a new logo for the Monterey Bay Half Marathon and a newly-designed website for both the full and Monterey Bay Half marathons to be completed this fall.
With the rebranding comes a tightened mission statement: to create beautiful running events that promote health and benefit our community.
“Many people, including our running audience, don’t know that we are a non-profit,” said Tom Rolander, board chair of the newly-named Big Sur Marathon Foundation and a ‘Grizzled Vet’ who has completed all 32 Big Sur International Marathons. “We work hard to put on beautiful and well-run races so that we can support other local nonprofits and groups in their charitable efforts. To date, we’ve given more than $5 million to organizations and causes in our community.”
Concurrently, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation is updating a five-year strategic plan that calls the organization to be “more than a marathon.” The board is exploring various health and fitness options and partnerships as well as determining future growth of race events.
Assisting in the rebranding efforts is a team from Wasserman, a global agency working with some of the world’s top brands, talent and properties. Staff from their endurance sports division and design group based in Southern California began the process by interviewing dozens of stakeholders including runners, sponsors, and community partners, to gather thoughts and impressions of the various races within the Big Sur portfolio.
“This was a very interesting exercise as there are lots of incredibly passionate people with definite opinions about the race and organization,” said Jason Bump, Vice President at Wasserman. “For both the marathon and the umbrella organization however, all felt that the bridge was the ultimate iconic element to visualize.”
The departure from the marathon’s hand-crafted script logo created for the race in the mid-1980’s will continue to be used in a “classic” line of apparel available through the Foundation’s online store and at the April race.
For more information on the Big Sur Marathon Foundation events and programs, visit www.bsim.org.