The NYC Marathon Showcases Powerful Stories to Excite Runners and Spectators This Race Season

26 inspirational stories guide the organization’s marketing strategy

This year's race will be held on Nov. 4.

Running a marathon, for many, can be an incredibly hard but rewarding experience. It can also provide some serious inspiration for those running the race, but also for those watching at home or in the streets.

The TCS New York City Marathon and New York Road Runners (the running organization behind the race) know that the stories that propel those runners across the finish line can sometimes be just as powerful as that final moment when each runner finally reaches it, 26.2 miles later.

As marathon day approaches—this year’s race will take place on Nov. 4—the New York Road Runners (NYRR) have launched a platform, relying on powerful storytelling, to drum up excitement for the race. The organization also hopes to drive tune-ins across the world on race day. To accomplish that, the organization today launched “Team #MovedMe.”

It’s a campaign that spreads across digital, social, print and TV. It focuses on 26 runners, each of whom showcases how running has the power to transform you and your life.

It follows on the organization’s 2017 campaign, “It Will Move You,” created to show not only how the marathon physically moves over 50,000 runners through New York City’s five boroughs, but also how it moves people emotionally—how it changes them one mile at a time.

“People really engaged with the content and what we found was that people really wanted to share their stories,” explained Ronnie Tucker, svp, marketing and digital for NYRR. The organization created a hashtag (#MovedMe) and saw a ton of engagement before, during and after the marathon. “That prompted us to think about this year and how we could extend the campaign. What really happened was we focused more on a stronger storytelling narrative,” she added.

Those stories range from Patrick Harten, the air traffic control worker who helped Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely land a commercial airline on the Hudson, to FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Downey, who is running in honor of his late grandfather (Ray Downey) who led rescue operations on 9/11. Each one is designed to show viewers, and runners, that running a marathon is not only a physically demanding endeavor, but it’s also an emotionally rewarding one.

At the end of the day, NYRR is relying on these powerful stories as a way to inspire, but also encourage people who may not be avid running fans to tune in and watch the race as it unfolds.

While the organization focused on a cross-platform approach this year, Tucker noted that digital will be a huge focus for 2018.

“We’ve really shifted into primarily digital tactics. Even in our out of home we are looking at digital tactics, but certainly our mobile app, our website, our social media, how we are integrating with broadcast. We’re living in a digital world so our marketing is pretty much all digital because that is where our consumers live,” she added.

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