Inaugural Tobacco Road Marathon Gives Back

Jun 23, 2010, 13:53 ET from Tobacco Road Marathon Association (TRMA)

Race organizers donate $35,000 to nonprofit organizations

CARY, N.C., June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last March, a sell-out crowd of 3,300 runners enjoyed their first taste of spring at a brand new marathon on the American Tobacco Trail, and the trail itself will be all the better for their efforts.

Recently, Tobacco Road Marathon organizers and the race's signature sponsor, Duke Medicine, presented checks totaling $30,000 to two beneficiaries: The Triangle Rails to Trails Conservancy and the Wounded Warriors Project. Earlier in the year, marathon officials donated $5,000 to the Triangle Chapter of the American Red Cross for its Haitian relief fund.

The 10-year old American Tobacco Trail is a scenic route through Durham, Chatham, and Wake counties, including the City of Durham. The Triangle Rails to Trails Conservancy works with local and state government officials to preserve local abandoned railroad corridors for future transportation and other interim uses such as recreational trails.

"I ran on the trail and saw what a wonderful place it is to run, bike and ride horses," said Race Director Kazem Yahyapour. "We have a tremendous running community in the Triangle, and this is such a beautiful area. The course provides a flat, fast course with nice scenery, and we thought people would support it."

Support it they did. The inaugural marathon was a sell-out.

Yahyapour hopes the marathon's $20,000 contribution to the Rails to Trails Conservancy will be used to help fulfill expansion dreams, turning the 22-mile trail into a 70-mile network.

Conservancy Vice President Bill Bussey is grateful for the donation.

"The money and the race itself will help make the trail better and will help us promote the use of it," he said.

Race organizers presented $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization based in Jacksonville, FL that provides direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured armed services members.

"Our service men and women have sacrificed for our country. The Wounded Warrior Project is a great organization that has done a lot of great things," Yahyapour said.

"This contribution means a great deal to us," said Project spokesperson Lee Cook. "We were surprised that in its first year, the marathon provided such a high level of support. It was fantastic," Cook said.

When the devastating earthquake struck Haiti last January, race organizers decided to issue an early contribution to the Red Cross to help the plight of the people of that country who lost their homes, loved ones and their livelihoods.

"The earthquake struck while we were still fundraising. We saw how many people were suffering and wanted to help," Yahyapour said.

"It was a tremendous honor to be included in the inaugural Tobacco Road Marathon," said Barry Porter, regional executive director for the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross used the donation to provide immediate relief to the Haitian people, and will use some of it to help future recovery efforts.

"We hope to continue to be a partner with the race as it grows and becomes one of our great community traditions," Porter said.

Duke Medicine was also pleased to be a partner.

"Duke Medicine is proud to extend its support as a sponsor of the Tobacco Road Marathon and the shared goals of healthy living, relief in Haiti and, most importantly, our ongoing support of our veterans," says Monte D. Brown, MD, Duke Medicine's vice president for administration and associate dean of veteran's affairs.

The inaugural Tobacco Road Marathon raised approximately $200,000. Yahyapour reported that after paying expenses and reserving $15,000 for start-up costs for the 2011 race, the rest of the proceeds went to the designated organizations.

Registration for the Tobacco Road Marathon is open and already filling up fast. The starting horn goes off at 7 a.m. on Sunday, March 20, 2011. Visit for more information and to register.

For more information contact:

Kazem Yahyapour


SOURCE Tobacco Road Marathon Association (TRMA)