Mastercard Runs With Small Businesses to Build Its Brand at New York City Marathon

Cardholders get a head start with experiences that strengthen brand ties to one of the city’s biggest events

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Shalane Flanagan is an Olympic medalist and an accomplished distance runner, but she made herself a legend in the five boroughs in 2017 after becoming the first U.S. woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years.

Now she’s helping Mastercard and its small business partners stay ahead of the pack.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR), the nonprofit group that organizes the marathon each year, added Mastercard as a sponsor in 2020. In 2021, Mastercard brought Flanagan on board to offer cardholders virtual training sessions for the marathon and a Priceless Start that allows 25 marathon-running cardholders to buy the chance to run with Flanagan ahead of the field at the beginning of the race. 

“I’m now in active service and I’m a coach, so I very much understand what marathoners are going through in training because I did it for years,” said Flanagan, who’s an assistant distance and cross-country...

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